Захист Приходька готується подати скаргу до Європейського суду з прав людини, щойно вирок йому набуде чинності
Захист Приходька готується подати скаргу до Європейського суду з прав людини, щойно вирок йому набуде чинності
Захист Приходька готується подати скаргу до Європейського суду з прав людини, щойно вирок йому набуде чинності
Посол Литви в Україні Вальдемарас Сарапінас назвав відкриття представництва «політично важливим кроком»
Famine is looming in southern Madagascar and emergency food aid is needed for hundreds of thousands of people to head off a humanitarian disaster on the African island nation, the U.N. World Food Program warned.Five consecutive years of drought, exacerbated by unexpected sandstorms, have depleted people’s food stocks, forcing them to resort to desperate measures to survive. The WFP senior director of operations in Madagascar, Amer Daoudi, said at least 1.35 million people are suffering from acute hunger, many of whom are living off locusts, raw cactus fruits or wild leaves. He said malnutrition is soaring to alarming levels, putting the lives of many children under age five at risk. While on a diplomatic and governmental tour of the region, he said he saw horrific images of starving, malnourished and stunted children. FILE – Children shelter from the sun in Ankilimarovahatsy, Madagascar, a village in the far south of the island where most children are acutely malnourished, Nov. 9, 2020.”And not only the children,” Daoudi added. “Mothers, parents, and the population in the villages we visited. The situation is extremely, extremely worrisome, scary. They are on the periphery of famine.” The WFP official said most of Madagascar’s southern districts are in a nutrition emergency as acute malnutrition has almost doubled over the last four months. He said people are dying but it is difficult to get an accurate count. “If a child dies, they bury, there is no reporting, there is no official type of reporting to take these numbers,” he said. “Same thing with grownups. We are already witnessing whole villages shutting down and moving to the nearest urban centers.” That movement, Daoudi said, is putting pressure on an already fragile food security situation in the cities. He said WFP is short of money and limited in what it can do to address the hunger crisis. Because of the cash crunch, he said his agency has been forced to cut food rations by half for up to 750,000 people who are living on a knife’s edge. WFP is asking for $75 million immediately to cover the needs of hundreds of thousands of starving people over the next few months.
The first emergency aid of critical medical supplies arrived in India from the United States on Friday, as the country grapples with a humanitarian crisis after being hit with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the death toll soaring past 200,000, the race to save lives is getting more frantic with India’s health care system virtually crushed under the relentlessly rising numbers.
A U.S. Super Galaxy military transporter brought more than 400 oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment as well as rapid coronavirus tests to New Delhi.
U.S. officials said that special flights which will also bring equipment donated by companies and individuals, will continue into next week.
President Joe Biden has pledged to support India in its fight against the coronavirus. On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar “to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-India partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Secretary Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing U.S. government efforts in support of the Indian government’s COVID-19 response operations,” said Price. “He also noted the outpouring of support from U.S. industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.”
Some 40 countries including major powers Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Japan, and smaller countries such as Thailand and Taiwan, have promised to send medical supplies as part of an international aid effort to address the shortage of critical oxygen and medicine. China, with whom India’s ties are strained, has also offered to send aid.
“We are facing an unprecedented second wave of the pandemic,” Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday.
For ordinary citizens that “unprecedented” situation means waging a desperate battle to save loved ones. The anguished appeals for oxygen, hospital beds, intensive care units, medicines and even wood to cremate the dead continue to dominate social media. At its overburdened crematoriums, grieving people wait into the night to perform the last rites for their family members.
While the Indian capital is one of the worst hit by the second wave, the virus is also wreaking havoc in other parts of the country.COVID-19 relief supplies from the U.S. are being unloaded from a U.S. Air Force aircraft at the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s cargo terminal in New Delhi, India, April 30, 2021.Adding to India’s woes, vaccines are in short supply — several Indian states said they will be unable to expand the vaccination program to people over the age of 18 beginning Saturday, as planned, because they do not have stock. So far, the vaccination drive was restricted to those above 45 years of age.
With hospitals overwhelmed, the Indian army has opened several of its hospitals to civilians and is helping in setting up medical facilities in several cities.
Amid the outcry from citizens, the Indian government has defended itself. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said this week that the country’s fatality rate per million was the lowest in the world and that the oxygen supplies were “adequate.”
India reported 386,452 news cases in the past 24 hours, while deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 3,498, according to health ministry data. For more than a week, the country has set a daily global record reporting over 300,000 infections.
But many experts say India’s official death count and total count of 18.8 million cases is an underestimate. There is also criticism that India did not pay sufficient attention to a new variant of the coronavirus that is infecting people.
About 350 scientists and medical researchers in an online appeal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow them access to government data such as sequencing of virus variants, testing and recovered patients that could help study, predict and curb the spread of the coronavirus. The data is not available to non-government experts.
“While new pandemics can have unpredictable features, our inability to adequately manage the spread of infections has, to a large extent, resulted from epidemiological data not being systematically collected and released in a timely manner to the scientific community,” the appeal stated.
Public health experts say India’s health facilities are failing under the exponential rise in numbers because health officials neglected to ramp up health infrastructure during the six months when cases dipped amid complacency that the worst of the pandemic was over.
“We were clearly underprepared for the second wave. A lot of temporary facilities set up and staff were let go after the first wave,” said Anant Bhan, a public health expert. “So, when the cases increased, we were found wanting. The second issue is we took things too lightly too soon. There was not much adherence to public health measures such as masking, and large religious and political events were held, which aided the spread of the infection. Also, the spread of new variants which are more infectious in nature have led to this situation.”
The woman who returned Lady Gaga’s stolen French bulldogs was among five people arrested in connection with the theft and shooting of the music superstar’s dog walker, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
Detectives do not believe that the thieves initially knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. The motive for the Feb. 24 robbery, investigators believe, was the value of the French bulldogs — which can run into the thousands of dollars.
The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, is recovering from a gunshot wound and has called the violence “a very close call with death” in social media posts. He was walking Lady Gaga’s three dogs — named Asia, Koji and Gustav — in Hollywood just off the famed Sunset Boulevard when he was attacked.
Video from the doorbell camera of a nearby home shows a white sedan pulling up and two men jumping out. They struggled with Fischer and one pulled a gun and fired a single shot before fleeing with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav.
The video captured Fischer’s screams of, “Oh, my God! I’ve been shot!” and “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding out from my chest!”
Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward — “no questions asked” — to be reunited with the dogs. The singer had been in Rome filming a movie at the time.
The dogs were returned two days later to an LAPD station by a woman who originally appeared to be “uninvolved and unassociated” with the crime, police initially said. The woman, identified Thursday as 50-year-old Jennifer McBride, had reported that she’d found the dogs and responded to an email address associated with the reward, police said.
McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects, the LAPD said Thursday. It was not immediately clear if she had received the reward.
Police arrested James Jackson, 18, Jaylin White, 19, and Lafayette Whaley, 27, in connection with the violence. They are charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jackson, who authorities say was the shooter, also faces charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. White faces one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
White’s father, 40-year-old Harold White, and McBride were arrested and accused of being accessories to the attack. The elder White also was charged with one count of possession of a firearm and McBride faces a charge of receiving stolen property.
Jackson, Whaley and the Whites are all documented gang members, according to the LAPD.
The five suspects were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
All five were being held on $1 million bail each, online jail records show.
Lady Gaga did not immediately address the arrests on her social media accounts Thursday afternoon. Fischer and Lady Gaga’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Тир гімназії №9 Черкас, де стався інцидент, досі опечатано правоохоронцями. Розслідування триває
Нові підозрювані – двоє заступників командира військової частини та депутат обради, який очолював Харківський національний університет Повітряних Сил імені Івана Кожедуба
The U.S. space agency NASA said the experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity, after three successful flights, failed to respond to commands to lift off for a fourth flight Thursday.
Scientists with the Ingenuity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California say a software problem similar to one that delayed the experimental craft’s initial flight 11 days ago prevented the helicopter from transitioning to “flight mode.” The scientists plan to try again Friday.
The 1.8-kilogram aircraft arrived on the planet packed away on NASA’s Perseverance rover when it landed on Mars in February. It was unfolded and dropped from the rover a little more than three weeks ago, and each of the three flights it has made so far have been successively more ambitious.
After first simply rising three meters off the Martian surface, hovering, and landing again,
Ingenuity’s second flight saw it rise to five meters, travel two meters to the east of its position, execute three turns, and return. On its third trip, it rose to five meters and traveled 50 meters, flying at a top speed of about two meters a second.
NASA scientists have planned the fourth flight to be the most ambitious yet. After rising to five meters, they plan to send the helicopter south, switch on its downward-facing navigation camera, and collect images of the surface every 1.2 meters until it travels a total of 133 meters. Ingenuity will then hover, take images with its color camera, and return to its original position.
NASA has scheduled a news conference later Friday to discuss the overall mission.
Our #MarsHelicopter has flown successfully three times & completed its mission objectives! What’s up next for the mighty little rotorcraft? Mission experts aim to push the limits. Find out how on Fri., April 30 at 12:30pm ET: https://t.co/dr0PRGvrPApic.twitter.com/PyLPJEQZHG— NASA (@NASA) April 29, 2021The space agency describes Ingenuity as a technology demonstration designed to test flight capability in the thin Martian atmosphere. It has specially designed rotors that spin much faster than they would have to on Earth to achieve flight. It also has innovative batteries and solar cells for recharging.
Aside from cameras, Ingenuity carries no scientific instruments.
Нікішин повідомляє, що на нього напав син мера Бродів, у чиєму комплексі журналіст хотів зафіксувати вечірку з порушенням карантину
Africa is “watching with total disbelief” as India struggles with a devastating resurgence in COVID-19 cases, the continent’s top public health official said Thursday, as African officials worry about delays in vaccine deliveries caused by India’s crisis.The African continent, with roughly the same population as India and fragile health systems, “must be very, very prepared” since a similar scenario could happen here, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters.An Indian man sleeps next to a sign urging people to stay at home as a precaution against coronavirus in the premises of a hospital in Hyderabad, India, April 29, 2021.”What is happening in India cannot be ignored by our continent,” he said, and urged African countries to avoid mass gatherings including political rallies. “We do not have enough health care workers, we do not have enough oxygen,” he warned.Africa’s vaccine supply heavily relies on India, whose Serum Institute is the source of the AstraZeneca vaccines distributed by the global COVAX project to get doses to low- and middle-income countries. India’s export ban on vaccines “has severely impacted the predictability of the rollout of vaccination programs and will continue to do so for the coming weeks and perhaps months,” Nkengasong said.”We are living in a world that is extremely uncertain now,” he added.Just 17 million vaccine doses have been administered across the African continent for a population of some 1.3 billion, according to the Africa CDC.The situation in India is “very sad to observe,” the World Health Organization’s Africa chief told reporters in a separate briefing. “We are very concerned about the delays that are coming in the availability of vaccines,” Matshidiso Moeti added.Her WHO colleague, Phionah Atuhebwe, called the delay “quite devastating for everybody” and said most African nations that received their first vaccine doses via COVAX will reach a “gap” in supply while waiting for second doses as early as May or June.”We call upon countries that have extra doses to do their part,” Atuhebwe said, adding that the WHO is reviewing the Chinese-made Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines this week.One unexpected COVID-19 vaccine donor is Congo, which Nkengasong said wants to give back some 1.3 million doses so they can be distributed to other African nations since it hasn’t been able to do it at home.There is “a lot of vaccine hesitancy” in the vast country, Nkengasong said. He didn’t immediately know how many people have received the doses there.A Muslim man walks past COVID-19 guidelines at the gate of Lekki Central mosque, in Lagos, Nigeria, April 16, 2021.There is a five-week timeline to get the doses administered elsewhere, he said, and Congo is working with COVAX to hand them over. He expressed hope that the doses can reach other people quickly during what he called “an extremely critical time.”Nkengasong didn’t know of other African countries saying they’re unable to use their doses but he urged them not to wait until the last moment to hand them back. Other countries in Europe, North America and Asia “can have their luxury” of vaccine options, he said, but “we do not have choices.”Moeti with the WHO commended Congo for its decision, calling it “extremely wise of the government to make this estimation” in a country with gaps in its health care system.She also warned that African countries must step up key public health measures to help avoid India’s scenario occurring here. The rate of testing for the coronavirus has dropped in “quite a few countries,” she said, and mentioned seeing data from one African nation in which the proportion of people not wearing face masks has risen to almost 80%.Only 43 million tests for the virus have been conducted across the African continent since the pandemic began, the Africa CDC chief said, with a 26% drop in new tests conducted in the past week.Nkengasong warned against travel bans, however, after Kenya this week announced it will suspend all passenger flights to and from India for two weeks starting midnight Saturday, while cargo flights continue.”It’s really unfortunate we are reacting in a very ad hoc manner in respect to flight movements,” he said, emphasizing the strength of authentic negative PCR tests. “It’s not people who are a threat, it’s the virus.”
The daily tally of COVID-19 cases in India continues to climb toward the 400,000 mark. Friday, the health ministry reported 386,452 new infections. The daily toll of new cases has been over 300,000 for nine consecutive days. Indian media are reporting that some public health experts believe that the actual tally of new infections may be at least five times higher than the official count.Aid from the U.S. and other countries arrived in India on Friday. U.S. assistance includes oxygen supplies, rapid diagnostic tests, and vaccine manufacturing materials.The second wave of the coronavirus has pushed India’s health care system to the brink of collapse, with hospitals at full capacity and an acute shortage of oxygen aggravating an already desperate situation. Many parks and parking lots have been converted into makeshift crematories that are working day and night to burn dead bodies.Indian public health experts have blamed the spread on more contagious variants of the virus, plus the easing of restrictions on large crowds when the outbreak appeared to be under control earlier this year.Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s European regional director, warned Thursday that “It is very important to realize that the situation in India can happen anywhere … when personal protection measures are being relaxed, when there are mass gatherings, when there are more contagious variants and the vaccination coverage is still low. This can basically create a perfect storm in any country.”Only the U.S. has more COVID cases than India. The U.S. has more than 32 million infections, while India has 18.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.More than a quarter of British health care workers are wary of the COVID-19 vaccine. Reasons for their reluctance included several conspiracy theories and the lack of people of color in vaccine trials.Vaccine maker Pfizer has begun exporting doses manufactured at one of its U.S. plants according to a report filed by Reuters. Reuters reports the vaccines went to Mexico.Meanwhile, the head of Australia’s drug regulatory agency said Thursday there is no evidence the AstraZeneca vaccine was responsible for the deaths of two people shortly after their inoculations.Two men in New South Wales state, including one in his 70s, died within days after receiving the vaccine.John Skerritt, the head of the government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, told reporters the men’s deaths are being investigated, but said “the current evidence does not suggest a likely association” between the deaths and the vaccination.The AstraZeneca vaccine has had a troubled rollout across the world, with many nations suspending its use after reports first surfaced of a severe side effect that combines blood clots with low platelet counts following inoculation, including a handful of deaths.
The United States, which has sent emergency aid to India, wants to quickly help the country increase its oxygen capacity to treat patients suffering from COVID-19, a U.S. official said Thursday.A first military plane loaded with equipment, including nearly 1 million rapid screening tests and 100,000 N95 masks, arrived early Friday in New Delhi. The shipment is part of a more than $100 million support plan, according to the White House.The priority “is to try to meet some of their immediate needs to deal with the serious challenges they face in their hospitals,” said Jeremy Konyndyk of the U.S. Agency for International Development.”We also need to help them address some of the underlying challenges, on the volume of oxygen the country can produce,” he told AFP.The United States is discussing with India how to develop its oxygen supply chain, including using technologies to convert industrial-grade oxygen into medical oxygen and improving its transport.Washington has also promised to help India by providing it with vaccines. But according to Konyndyk, for a country of more than a billion people facing skyrocketing cases, that is more of a medium-term measure.”Right now, there just aren’t enough vaccines in the world and not the ability to deliver them quickly enough to control this kind of outbreak,” he said.The United States announced Monday that it will provide other countries with 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not authorized for use in the U.S.Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is sending equipment to India to produce more than 20 million doses of Covishield, a cheaper version of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in India.Biden has been criticized by those who believe he should have shared vaccine doses with the rest of the world more quickly.
NASA Astronaut Michael Collins, who made history as part of the 1969 Apollo 11 crew to first land a person on the moon, has died at age 90. In interviews with VOA’s Kane Farabaugh, Collins reflected on the importance of the mission and the contributions of the astronauts of his era, while keeping a focus on the future of crewed spaceflight and exploration.Producer and camera: Kane Farabaugh.
Videos of kids having fun are among the most popular on YouTube. They are also a fast-growing business, one that critics say comes with little regulation and oversight to protect children on either side of the screen. Michelle Quinn reports.
Producer: Michelle Quinn
Regulators are moving to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and cigars, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.The move follows years of pressure from advocates who say that the tobacco products are targeted at African Americans and are responsible for higher death rates in this group from illnesses brought on by smoking.“Today’s action by the FDA to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, while long overdue, is a major step toward preventing a new generation from becoming tobacco users and saving lives,” said Susan R. Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.Companies have aggressively marketed menthol cigarettes in African American communities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 85% of African Americans who smoke use menthol cigarettes, compared with 46% of Hispanics and 29% of whites, the FDA noted.“For far too long, certain populations, including African Americans, have been targeted, and disproportionately impacted by tobacco use,” FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitch Zeller said in a statement.Menthol soothes the irritation that tobacco smoke causes. Since the cigarettes are easier to smoke, an FDA review found that new smokers were more likely to start smoking and become regular users.By encouraging more people to start and making it harder for them to stop, a study found that menthol cigarettes were responsible for an extra 10.1 million people becoming smokers between 1980 and 2018.Congress banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, but the law exempted menthol. Instead, it instructed the government to study the impacts of menthol on public health.FDA’s 2013 review determined that “menthol cigarettes pose a public health risk above that seen with non-menthol cigarettes.”Public health groups petitioned the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes. The FDA proposed a ban in 2018 but did not follow through.Groups sued in 2020. Thursday was a court-ordered deadline for the FDA to respond to the petition.Some groups have expressed concerns that making menthol cigarettes illegal would make criminals of people who still sought them, disproportionately affecting minority communities.Zeller said that would not happen.”The FDA cannot and will not enforce against individual consumer possession or use of menthol cigarettes or any tobacco products,” he said. “Our job will be to make sure that any unlawful tobacco products do not make their way onto the market.”The agency aims to have a final rule in place within a year, officials said. But the effort may run into legal obstacles.Tobacco companies disagree with the FDA’s assessment of the risks.”As was true when the FDA first examined menthol in 2013, and as the published literature continues to demonstrate, there is no scientific basis to regulate menthol and non-menthol cigarettes differently,” said R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company spokesperson Neassa Hollon.
Pope Francis has issued an anti-corruption decree requiring Vatican managers, including cardinals, to sign a declaration attesting they are not being investigated or have not been found guilty of terrorism, money-laundering or tax evasion. The new regulations are part of the pope’s long battle against corruption inside Vatican’s walls.Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has been battling corruption inside the Vatican and his decree issued Thursday mandates full economic disclosure and controls for all managers working for the city state, including cardinals. They will be required to sign a declaration when they are appointed attesting that they have never been convicted of a crime. They will also be required to declare that they are not under investigation for offenses including money laundering, corruption, fraud, exploitation of minors or tax evasion.Vatican managers will also have to declare they are investing funds that are consistent with the Catholic Church’s social doctrine. In addition, the decree states that they will not be allowed to use tax havens or accept any work-related gifts that are worth more than $48. They also cannot hold real estate obtained with illegal funds.FILE – Police officers patrol an empty St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, April 10, 2020.Last May, Pope Francis issued another decree tightening the rules on Vatican departments to secure contracts. But the pope’s latest anti-corruption crackdown is the toughest since he took office eight years ago to ensure Vatican City employees are not involved in illegal financial activity.For the past two years, prosecutors have been investigating allegations of corruption in a Vatican investment into a London property deal. The Vatican has been involved in numerous financial scandals and the pope has made clear he would battle corruption from the outset of his pontificate.Pope Francis has spoken out about the issue of corruption on many occasions. One of those times was during a trip to Kenya, two years after being elected.Cases of corruption, he said, are found not only in politics, but in all institutions and inside the Vatican as well. Corruption, he added, is something that hits us inside. It’s like sugar, it’s sweet, we like it. It’s easy. But then, the pope concluded, it ends badly.The pope’s new decree made clear that Vatican employees must adhere to “internationally accepted regulations and best practices” that require transparency to fight “conflicts of interest, patronage practices and corruption in general.” Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s Committee that evaluates anti-money laundering measures and the financing of terrorism, is expected to publicly release its report soon, which also includes details on the Holy See’s adherence to combat those practices.
The Pew Research Center released Thursday an analysis of 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data showing the population of Asian Americans reached 24 million people.
The Washington-based research group previously projected that population will reach 46 million people by 2060, and that by that time Asian Americans will be the largest immigrant group in the United States.
It said Thursday nearly all the Asian American population comes from 19 Asian origin groups, and that Chinese Americans account for 23% of the Asian population.
In terms of geographical distribution, Pew said 45% percent of Asian Americans live in western states, while 24% live in southern states.
Pew reported that in 2017, about 14% of the 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States were people from Asia.
It said overall 57% of Asian Americans were born in another country.
Between 2000 and 2019, according to Pew, the number of people with Bhutanese, Nepalese and Burmese origin grew at the fastest rates, while the number of Laotians and Japanese grew at the slowest rates.
З моменту першого пуску 2012 року ракета Vega стартувала 18 разів
Слідчі ДБР шукали докази в справі про ймовірний продаж Міністерству оборони неякісної військової техніки за завищеними цінами
India set new records again Thursday in COVID-19 deaths and infections as its new vaccination registration program stumbled while millions of voters nonetheless turned out for an election in the state of West Bengal.Under the weight of a disastrous second surge of the disease, India’s efforts to begin registering its 1.4 billion people for inoculations stumbled Wednesday when the government launched a website for all Indians 18 and older to sign up for a vaccination drive that is set to begin Saturday.Many people flooded social media with complaints, however, that either the website had crashed or they were unable to make an appointment.The problems with the website come as the health ministry reported a record 379,257 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, including 3,645 fatalities, marking yet another one-day record for fatalities. The new figures have pushed India’s coronavirus casualty numbers well over 18.3 million total confirmed cases and 204,832 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.Manika Goel, sits next to her husband who is suffering from the COVID-19 inside the emergency ward at Holy Family hospital in New Delhi, India, April 29, 2021.The second wave of the coronavirus has pushed India’s health care system to the brink of collapse, with hospitals at full capacity and an acute shortage of oxygen aggravating an already desperate situation. Many parks and parking lots have been converted into makeshift crematories that are working day and night to burn dead bodies.Public health experts have blamed the spread on more contagious variants of the virus, plus the easing of restrictions on large crowds when the outbreak appeared to be under control earlier this year.West Bengal votingDespite the worsening crisis and soaring temperatures, many of the more than 8 million eligible voters in West Bengal state formed long lines at some of the more 11,800 polling stations Thursday to vote in the eighth and final phase of state elections.Indian women voters wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait outside a polling station to cast their votes during the last phase of West Bengal state elections in Kolkata, April 29, 2021.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party were criticized over the last few weeks for holding massive election rallies in West Bengal. Health experts have suggested the rallies may have contributed to a record surge in the state, which recorded more than 17,000 new cases over the last day, its highest since the pandemic began.Other political parties also held rallies in the state.India’s vaccination drive has dragged at a slow pace since it was launched in January, with only 1.7% of the population fully vaccinated. The country has a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines as it struggles with a lack of raw materials needed to manufacture doses.The international community has responded by shipping critical supplies to India, including ventilators, oxygen concentrators, drug treatments and the raw materials necessary to develop vaccines.This photograph released by Indian External Affairs Ministry shows a shipment of oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical supplies arrived from Russia to India, April 29, 2021.The White House says an initial shipment of medical supplies worth $100 million will begin arriving in India on Thursday, including 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 face masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests, along with the raw materials that will allow India to manufacture 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca two-dose vaccine.The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Wednesday urging Americans not to travel to India, becoming the latest country to impose a warning or outright prohibition on visiting the country.Meanwhile, the head of Australia’s drug regulatory agency said Thursday there is no evidence the AstraZeneca vaccine was responsible for the deaths of two people shortly after their inoculations.Two men in North South Wales state, including one in his 70s, died within days after receiving the vaccine.John Skerritt, the head of the government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, told reporters the men’s deaths are being investigated, but said “the current evidence does not suggest a likely association” between the deaths and the vaccination.The AstraZeneca vaccine has had a troubled rollout across the world, with many nations suspending its use after reports first surfaced of a severe side effect that combines blood clots with low platelet counts following inoculation, including a handful of deaths.