COVID-19: Boris Johnson suggests ‘vast majority’ of vulnerable people could get COVID vaccine by Easter | Politics News


Boris Johnson has suggested the “vast majority” of people most vulnerable to coronavirus could be vaccinated against the disease by Easter.

The prime minister, speaking at a Downing Street news conference, said this “would make a very substantial change” to how the UK is able to manage COVID-19.

With Oxford University’s vaccine shown to be up to 90% effective, Mr Johnson said the roll-out of the jab “at a good lick” – perhaps in combination with two other vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna – should see the UK inoculate “the vast majority of people who need the most protection by Easter”.

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Boris Johnson hailed the news of the Oxford vaccine’s up to 90% efficacy

“That would make a very substantial change to where we are at the moment,” he added.

“I don’t want to give any more hostages to fortune than that, but that’s the best information we have.”

Mr Johnson said there would be “no compulsory vaccination”, but branded the “propaganda” of anti-vaccination campaigners as “wrong” and urged everyone to get a vaccine “as soon as it is available”.

He also said the UK is “not out of the woods yet” and warned the coming months “will be hard, they will be cold, they include January and February when the NHS is under its greatest pressure”.

The prime minister vowed to “continue to bear down hard” on COVID and said now was “not the moment to let the virus rip for the sake of Christmas parties”.

“‘Tis the season to be jolly, but ’tis also the season to be jolly careful,” Mr Johnson added.

The prime minister, following talks with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is expected to set out how families might be able to gather over the festive period later this week.

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‘Tis the season to be jolly careful,’ PM says

Earlier on Monday, Mr Johnson had told the House of Commons how a new “tougher” three-tiered system of restrictions – to be put in place until the end of March – would replace England’s current national lockdown from 2 December.

At the news conference, the prime minister said the new tiering system – in combination with testing and the roll-out of vaccines – would “squeeze the virus in the weeks and months ahead”.

“I really am now assured things really will look and feel very different indeed after Easter,” he added.

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, also offered hope of more normality in people’s lives after the winter months.

“Science and also the seasons, when we get through to spring, will help to de-risk this infection steadily, step-by-step,” he told the news conference.

“And we’ll be able to pull back from these really oppressive things we have to do socially and economically to keep it under control at the moment.

“The virus will not disappear, but it will become less and less risky for society.”

Prof Whitty added coronavirus “may still cause problems, particularly in the winter months” but suggested there would no longer be a need for the strictest measures from next spring.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said there was a “hint” in the data that his group’s vaccine could help reduce the amount of asymptomatic infection.

“That may mean that there could be fewer people in the population who are spreaders,” he said.

“And that starts to stop the virus in its tracks, if we can get there.”

Prof Pollard admitted there was a “possibility” the virus could mutate, with surveillance in place around the world to monitor such a development.

He said it could be “relatively quick” to adapt vaccines to combat a mutation, but added it would be up to regulators to decide whether updated jabs would have to go through a full trial process once more.



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Easter 1944 – US and UK Bombers Were Murdering Their Serbian Christian Allies


The American and British air force bombed Belgrade and various Serbian towns on Sunday, April 16, 1944, during Christian Serb holiday of Easter. The bombing was performed in a fashion more savage than Hitler did it three years earlier on Sunday, April 6, 1941.


There is no easy explanation and certainly, there is no excuse for this barbarity. To make it even more shocking – while the number of Serbian cities were mercilessly bombed on this Eastern Orthodox holiday – none of the Croat cities saw the same destiny. Why were the Serbs – the nominal allies bombed while the nominal enemy was not? Theories are many and we can only guess.

Michel Lees was one of the British liaison officers dropped by the special forces into Axis-occupied Yugoslavia in 1943. He spent a year among the Chetniks. Chetniks were Serb Royalists loyal to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and to King Peter. They were anti-Nazi guerilla fighters lead by Serbian patriot General Draza Mihajlovic. This is a quote from Mr. Lees’ book…

What should be so secret about an air force operation?

Excerpt from:
Michael Lees
THE RAPE OF SERBIA,
The British role in Tito’s Grab for Power 1943-1944

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1990
ISBN 0-15-195910-2


QUOTE, pp 301-302:

The theory [in some Serbian circles] is that strikes by Western Allied aircraft of the Balkan Air Force were called down specifically against Serbian towns and villages, cynically choosing Serbian Orthodox religious holidays for the bombing. It is an undeniable fact that there was carpet bombing of Belgrade for three consecutive days coinciding with the Orthodox Easter in April 1944, the intensity of which surpassed even the Luftwaffe attacks of April 1941. On Saint George’s Day 1944 the Montenegrin towns of Niksic, Podgorica, and Danilovgrad were blasted by Allied planes, allegedly because there were strong Loyalist concentrations around those areas, but, in truth, to demoralize the pro-Mihailovic populations. The same was done even to Zara [Zadar] to demoralize the Italian population. [British liaison to Tito’s partisans] Maclean’s book Eastern Approaches gives his impressive and horrifying eyewitness account of the devastation of [central Serbia city of] Leskovac on the opening day of Ratweek, purportedly in order to destroy a concentration of German armor and motor transport. But fifty Flying Fortresses were used, and Maclean “tried not to think of the population of small farmers, shopkeepers and railway workers, of the old people, the women and children, who at this moment would be going about their everyday business in the streets. … the whole of Leskovac seemed to rise bodily into the air … the civilian casualties had been heavy.”

Militarily it was using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. … But to the Partisan leadership the purpose of that bombing and others was not military, it was political. It was to show the strongly pro-Loyalist population of Jablanica who were the masters now.

The nominal bombing procedure was that Tito and his commander specified the targets through the British mission and their RAF advisors. One wonders why the BLOs, or the Balkan Air Force advisors at base, did not question the necessity of extensive bombings of Yugoslav [actually exclusively – Serbian] areas, of hospitals, and of churches — and on religious holidays too — it there was not some political motive. Why did Maclean not question the need to flatten [the Serbian town of] Leskovac? Massive bombing of civilians in German cities was one thing. Germans lived there, and the German morale had to be broken. But bombing Belgrade or Leskovac on the odd chance of hitting a German barracks or tank and with the certainty of killing massive numbers of Yugoslav [actually – Serb only] allies was surely something very sinister. I feel certain that the Allies would never have contemplated a blanket bombing of Paris, for example, on Easter Sunday — or any other day — however many German tanks were passing through.

But of course Tito had made it clear from the start that his was a sovereign army and that he would decide. Did that go for ordering out massive formations of allied bombers too?

… Regrettably, the Balkan Air Force files are permanently closed like the main SOE files and those of SIS. One wonders why. What should be so secret about an air force operation?

History seems to repeat itself again. It was Bosnian Muslim forces that, in 1995, issued target lists to NATO pilots when Bosnian Serbs were to be bombed to submission. Four years later, during NATO’s assault on Yugoslavia in 1999, Albanian KLA terrorists were to provide NATO aviation with data how to bomb Serbs [again] in the very cradle of the Serbian culture – Kosovo.

To summarize: the Western allies were always ready to provide their proxies on the ground with air cover. It is not only the case with recent Yugoslav civil wars. It is true – different times – round the globe. In the second half of the twentieth century, the Serbs – nominal allies of United States and Great Britain in WWII struggle against the Nazis – were target of vicious “ally” air attacks at least three times. Again, this simply because the “allies” had found themselves proxies they wanted to help:

  • Tito’s Communists in 1944
  • Croat new Nazis in their attack on Krajina in 1995
  • Islam fundamentalists in Bosnia in 1995
  • Albanian terrorists and drug dealers in 1999

Each one of the chosen proxy is more astonishing than the next. Each choice of the proxy is more puzzling than the next.

That Tito was Churchill’s hand-picked proxy in the Balkans is not a secret anymore. From declassified letters Churchill sent to Roosevelt we see that Churchill insisted Roosevelt should stop supporting Serbian Royalists.

Doc. 345
CHURCHILL TO ROOSEVELT

No. 638

April 6, 1944

It is said that OSS [U.S. Office of Strategic Service] have received instructions, which have been approved by you, to arrange for a small intelligence mission to be infiltrated to General Michailivic’s headquarters, and we have been asked to organize the necessary arrangements.

We are now in process of withdrawing all our missions from Mihailovic and are pressing [Yugoslavia and Serbia] King Peter to clear himself of this millstone,… If, at this very time, an American mission arrives at Michailovic’s headquarters, it will show throughout the Balkans a complete contrariety of action between Britain and the United States. The Russians will certainly throw all their weight on Tito’s side, which we are backing to the full. Thus we shall get altogether out of step. I hope and trust this may be avoided.

 Published in
“Roosevelt and Churchill,
Their secret wartime correspondence,” page 482
Saturday Review Press / E.P. Dutton Co.
New York, 1975

Immediately, in the letter (Doc #346, No. 515) two days later (April 8, 1944) President Roosevelt agrees and says: “My thoughts in authorizing an OSS mission to the Mihailovic area was to obtain intelligence and the mission was to have no political functions whatever… I have directed that the contemplated mission be not repeat not sent.”

Not much persuasion needed. In English, whether the British or American version of it the word “ally” actually means – a useful fool. Only months before, and maybe even during the time when the American President penned the above letter, the Royalist Chetniks were saving lives of American pilots fallen over Yugoslavia. Some six hundred of them! To viciously bomb Serbian cities by another group of American pilots was a typical cowboy way to say thanks.

In 1941 Churchill asked Serbs to commit suicide and say “No!” to Hitler at the time when he was at the peak of his power. The Serbs did it and paid with more than million lives! Churchill praised them at the time. Only three years later he was expressing his gratitude to the same astonishing people of Belgrade who dared chant to Hitler’s face “Rather war than the pact; rather death than slavery…” by viciously bombing them on their most important Christian holiday. On Easter Sunday!

Such is Western morality and every future ally of the  Brits and Americans should know the above story.



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Former President Srisena makes a statement on the Easter Sunday Attack


Colombo, 27 August, (Asiantribune.com):

The Police unit of the Presidential Commission investigating the Easter Sunday attacks visited the Colombo residence of former President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday to record a statement.

Sirisena was President when the Easter Sunday attacks were carried out in April 2019.

During the commission hearings, it had been revealed that former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena had made several telephone calls to then-President Sirisena prior to the attacks.

It was reported after the attacks that intelligence information had been received on a possible terror attack but the information had been disregarded.

It was reported that the Police Unit of the Presidential Commission (PCoI) on 17 August summoned Sirisena to appear before the Police unit at the BMICH.

Sirisena, however, informed the PCoI that he was unable to visit the Police unit and he could make a statement at his official residence.

Subsequently, Officers attached to the Police Unit of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, probing into the Easter Sunday bombings, recorded a statement from former President Maithripala Sirisena at his official residence yesterday.

They arrived at the former president’s Colombo residence yesterday morning to record a statement over the Easter Sunday bomb attacks.

It is reported that a nine-hour long statement was recorded from former President Maithripala Sirisena by the officers from the Police Unit of the Presidential Commission probing Easter Sunday attacks.

– Asian Tribune –

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Sri Lanka marks Easter Sunday attack anniversary


Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Relatives pay their respects at St Sebastian’s Church, one year on from the attacks

Church bells have rung out across Sri Lanka, marking one year since more than 250 people were killed by a group of suicide bombers.

But there are no other large-scale events planned to remember the men, women and children – from worshippers celebrating Easter in church to tourists enjoying breakfast in hotel restaurants – whose lives were ended 12 months ago.

Sri Lanka has been observing a curfew since March, as it tries to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has so far killed seven on the island nation.

But the day is not going unnoticed – not least for those whose lives were changed forever by the violence.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

People pray outside St Anthony’s Church marking one year since the attacks

Saranya, 25, was nine months pregnant when a bomb went off at St Anthony’s Church in the capital Colombo last year. Her husband was killed in the attack. Just a day later, she gave birth to their son.

“My husband never saw his son,” she told AFP news agency. “My baby will be one year old on the 22nd, but how can we celebrate. It is a day after his father’s death anniversary. It is a sad day for us.”

Anusha Kumari, whose family were caught up in the attack on St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo near the capital, told the BBC’s Jane Corbin earlier this year: “My husband and my two children were killed only once. I die every second.”

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Priests hold candles at St Anthony’s Church

Investigations into the attacks are continuing. Parliament heard last year that an Indian intelligence warning at the beginning of the month about planned attacks was not properly shared by officials in the previous administration.

“It is unconscionable that dozens of people in government, the highest senior elected officials, were made aware of warnings and of intelligence reports, and absolutely failed to investigate,” Dhulsini de Zoysa, whose 11-year-old son Kieran was killed at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, told the BBC documentary.

“Kieran’s father and I feel that it is a call for accountability – the highest elected officials. We have had no acknowledgement that we’ve lost the most precious person in our lives – nothing at all; not even condolences.”

What happened?

Nine suicide bombers detonated their devices in six locations around the country on Easter Sunday last year.

Reports of the explosions first came in at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) on 21 April.

Three blasts were at churches: in the Kochchikade district of Colombo; in Negombo, to the north of the capital; and in the eastern city of Batticaloa. The churches were packed with worshippers celebrating Easter.

The other three blasts were at three luxury hotels in the capital – the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand.

After those initial blasts, two other explosions were reported as police searched for the suspects. One was in Dehiwala in southern Colombo, and another one near the Colombo district of Dematagoda.

Later on Easter Sunday 2019, an improvised device was found and defused close to the country’s main airport, near Colombo.

The following day, another explosion occurred on a street near a church in Colombo. Police were attempting to defuse devices in a vehicle used by the attackers when it suddenly blew up.

According to police sources, the attackers had planned an explosion at a fourth hotel but it failed.

Who were the victims?

At least 253 people were killed in the attacks. The death toll had climbed to 359, but it was later revised down by the government.

One of the first victims to be identified was celebrity chef Shantha Mayadunne. Other Sri Lankans killed in the attacks were members of the church and staff at the hotels.

One man, Ramesh Raju, was killed at Zion Church after denying the bomber entry to the service. As he did so, the bomb detonated. It is said that Ramesh saved hundreds of lives with his actions.

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Media captionRamesh was killed in the blast in Batticaloa

A number of foreigners were also killed in the attack. They came from the UK, Denmark, Portugal, India, Turkey, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Bangladesh, the US and China.

Who was behind the attacks?

Shortly after the attacks, authorities in Sri Lanka said local militant group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) were to blame.

Islamist preacher Zahran Hashim, who founded the NTJ but was reportedly later expelled from the group, is suspected of having been the bombers’ ringleader. He blew himself up at a hotel in Colombo.

However the Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks. It released video of men it says were the bombers, pledging allegiance to the group – however all but one of the men have their faces covered in the footage.

A video released by IS showed Hashim pledging allegiance to the group’s then leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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Media captionA statue of Christ which survived the bombed church, spattered by “the blood of the people”

UK officials told the BBC last year that it is highly likely that IS was linked to the attack in some way.

Two of the bombers are said to have been the sons of a wealthy and well-known spice trader. All but one of the nine bombers came from middle or upper class families.



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