LGBTQ (“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer”) Pride month is celebrated each year in the month of June to hone the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, NY, which was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world.
Tiananmen Square massacre was a series of pro-democracy protests and demonstrations in China in the spring of 1989 that culminated on the night of June 3-4 with a government crackdown on the demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The crackdown remains an official taboo in China, and any attempts to discuss or commemorate it would be forcefully curbed.
There is a possibility for protests, particularly in the capital opposing the election, which may result in clashes between protesters and police.
Protests may occur, particularly in the capital with a risk of clashes between supporters of opposing sides.
On a second note, it is important to notice although the international community has taken steps to recognize the need to act with regards to environmental issues, activist groups claim the response is still not enough. Hence, climate change-related protests and strikes can be expected to continue across the globe. Special attention should be given to the possibility of civil disobedience acts, which might generate persistent, localized disruptions due to activist tactics adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although details of these events are somewhat unpredictable, Safeture provides real-time alerts about civil unrest.
Apart from the continued pressure from top military leaders that led to his resignation, the country was also swamped by mass protests across the country, with the biggest demonstration in Yerevan that ended up with protesters storming the government building in March. Pashinyan, who was once hailed for his liberal outlook as well as his role during the 2018 Velvet Revolution, is now facing constant backlash due to little progress for fundamental changes amid Armenia’s weak state institutions, polarised political culture, and corruption. His lackluster performance in negotiating for an end to last autumn’s conflict also became a source of anger among the populace. All these, among others, trusted Armenia into a deep political crisis amid a substantial loss of trust in the government and the opposition, on top of declining public confidence in all political factions.
With Covid-19 pandemic coming into the picture in 2020, Pashinyan handling of the situation had also left him more vulnerable politically. Critics opined that he has not prioritized this major crisis, accusing him of focusing more on the upcoming referendum. Although Armenia has rolled out a vaccination campaign that sought to improve the pandemic situation, the government has instead been forced to counter widespread conspiracy theories that are fuelling vaccine skepticism among its citizens. Besides that, many are now worried about the slow economic recovery that has devastated many sectors in the country. In recent weeks, acting PM Pashinyan was also tested again with yet another escalation as reports emerged that Azerbaijani troops had crossed the southern border to capture Lake Sev Lich. The incursion, however, was quickly repelled.
Despite being under immense pressure, the call for a snap poll set for 20th June signals optimism that Pashinyan will gain another mandate from the people of Armenia. While his approval rating has fallen to only about 30 percent in April, his “My Step” faction has remained the most popular political party. The real test should Pashinyan retains power is whether he can once again fulfill the expectations he brought about since his Velvet Revolution days, especially critical changes that can overturn the political crisis that has tainted Armenia for decades.
Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, and people are being advised to continue working from home if they can, but now millions can socialize indoors at pubs, bars, and restaurants in limited numbers (up to six people or two households indoors and gatherings of up to 30 people outside), hug loved ones, visit museums, cinemas, theatres, and gyms - as exercise classes and indoor sports are allowed to resume.
As a consequence of the devolution, the Covid-19 responses differ in the four constituent nations, meaning that Northern Ireland only relaxed its restrictions to indoor hospitality one week later, on 24 May. Nonetheless, international travel has resumed across the UK, with countries being put on a “green,” “amber,” or “red” list - with varying quarantining rules when returning to the country - based on their infection rate.
Notwithstanding the reopening being a sigh of relief for the economy and people’s mental health, the lifting of restrictions has been accompanied by a rise in Covid cases linked with the surge of the Indian coronavirus variant in the UK, which has already become the dominant strain in parts of North West England. According to the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), there is a high possibility that the Indian coronavirus variant could be as much as 50 percent more transmissible than the Kent or B117 strain - the Kent strain was already 50 percent or 70 percent more transmissible than previous strains - however, negligibly more resistant to the vaccines.
This new scenario has generated a range of fresh measures to tackle the spread of the Indian variant, including a change in the vaccination strategy, accelerating second doses of vaccines (eight weeks rather than 12 weeks) for those over-50s and clinically vulnerable. Localized lockdowns also appear to be on the table.
To date, almost 70 percent of the British adult population have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while just over 38 percent have received two doses (data as of 21 May). According to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, regarding going ahead with the final lifting of restrictions, the government will decide on 14 June. Still, it is impossible to rule out that there might be a delay or even a toughening of the rules. In the meantime, officials will be monitoring the consequences of 17 and 24 May’s easing of restrictions - the biggest step so far -, and the impact on hospital numbers in communities most affected by the new variant of the virus.
Meanwhile, people in the UK are being asked to keep wearing a face mask where social distance is impossible, such as on public transport and in shops. Also, people traveling abroad will be able to use the NHS app - which is different from the NHS Covid-19 app - to prove they have had the vaccine.
Additionally, the UK government says regular testing could be an important widget for easing restrictions. In England, anyone without symptoms can get free lateral flow tests, which give results in 30 minutes, from testing sites, pharmacies, or through the post. In Scotland, anyone can also order lateral flow test kits online or collect them from local testing centres in the afternoon or early evening. Some people without symptoms can now get lateral flow tests in Wales and Northern Ireland, including volunteers and those who cannot work from home. If you get a positive result from a lateral flow test anywhere in the country, you and your household must self-isolate immediately and get a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm the result. This can be booked online or by phone - 119 in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, or 0300 303 2713 in Scotland.
Sources: John Hopkins University and Medicine; World Health Organisation; NHS, Gov.Uk; BBC World News
As the northern hemisphere gears up for the summer season, individuals must bear in mind that the temperature can be extreme at times, thus leading to heat-related illnesses. We often hear cases of heatstroke that developed from uncontrolled heat exhaustion, often overlooked as a common occurrence when the temperature soars. It is important to know the symptoms as they can develop suddenly over time. Being in the sun for too long may expose one to heavy sweating and rapid heart rate, indicating that the body is overheating. Other symptoms include dizziness, feeling cold, and having pale and clammy skin. The symptoms can typically last for 30 minutes or less when treated promptly. Safeture has covered incidents of a heatwave across the world in the past and provided brief advice for users to avoid heat exhaustion. They include:
Rate of eight-day rolling average on the number of active cases of COVID-19 per state (13-20 May 2021). Northern and southwestern India have been the worst-affected by the latest Covid-19 surge (Source: India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). In general, an area is at extremely high risk for unvaccinated people if it reported an average daily rate of more than 45 cases per 100,000 people over the past eight days.
The Covid-19 outbreak has shown little signs of abating through May despite lockdown and curfew measures imposed by various state governments. At least 20 states recorded a positivity rate of more than 15 percent through early May, indicating that strong intervention measures are likely to continue till June. While preventing further deterioration of the outbreak is the central government’s priority, it is also wary of the impacts of a prolonged lockdown. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has also ruled out a national lockdown similar to that in 2020, citing the impact on the economy. Instead, state governments were given the freedom to determine the type of restrictions based on the severity of the local outbreak. Some experts said such a move makes sense as a similar move last year pushed more Indians into the abyss of poverty. As vaccination efforts remain underwhelming and the infection rate continues to be stubbornly high, a gradual easing of measures that could last for several months seems likely as Modi seeks to strike a balance between the economy and public health.
Sources: CNN; Indian Express
Chan Hoi Cheong
Senior Analyst and Office Manager Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Analyst, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Analyst Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Analyst Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Gabriela Ribeiro de Araujo
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Analyst Lund, Sweden
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