Dear Reader,

In an era and time when Big Pharma and big profits rule the roost in the fight against Covid and its variants, an American doctor-scientist has thrown a different light – producing the first non-patented, not-for-profit vaccine for the world. An act of extraordinary compassion and humaneness.

The vaccine, Corbevax, developed by Dr Peter Hotez of the Texas Children’s Hospital, is soon coming to India, as it has just been authorised for emergency use and is being produced by Biological E, a Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer. Mojo Story talks to Dr Hotez on being inspired by Jonas Salk - who developed the Polio vaccine and gave it away to humanity for free - and the potential of Corbevax to finally end inequities in access to global vaccination.

As we gird up to deal with the Omicron variant of Covid, Down To Earth looks back at the year gone by and records that while we had to deal with one of the most ominous forms of the pandemic - the Delta - science and scientists were also able to produce the antidotes in record time. A triumph of science and the human spirit.

In its latest exercise, the Delimitation Commission has given six out of seven new seats to the Jammu division and only one to Kashmir, even though the latter has 16 lakh more residents. Kashmir Observer argues that the narrowed difference in seats would erode the political and psychological centrality of the Valley.

In Kerala, TrueCopy Think focuses on the rapid deterioration of the quality of water in the Periyar river - the lifeline of Kerala, which is perennial and provides potable water to several major towns in the state. The report questions the inaction of the Kerala Pollution Control Board in bringing polluting industries near the river to heel.

And, as we start the new year - Covid’s resurgence, economic uncertainties, China’s muscle-flexing on the borders and simmering internal tensions - unfortunately, frame the context. Swarajya lays out a wish list for the new year, including ‘new politics’ and a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ for healing communal cleavages in India.

On behalf of the Foundation’s Trustees, and on my own behalf, I wish you a very happy 2022.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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"You cannot patent the Sun" | Meet the Man who is gifting his vaccine to India

Mojo Story speaks to Dr Peter Hotez of the Texas Children's Hospital, who developed Corbevax, which has become the world's first non-patented, not-for-profit vaccine. His vaccine has been approved for use in India and will be available shortly.

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The 2021 COVID-19 Wrap-up

Down To Earth reflects on the year which passed, when the world struggled to cope with Delta, one of the deadliest variants of Covid, and looks ahead at the fight against Omicron; and what it will take to preclude another year of tragedy.

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Delimitation Proposals: Why Kashmir Can’t Protest?

The delimitation exercise in J&K has seemingly skewed the political and psychological balance between the Valley and the Jammu region in favour of the latter, Kashmir Observer reports. The total Assembly seats in J&K is up from 83 to 90, while Jammu's increases from 37 to 43. However, the Valley's share has just risen by one.

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എടയാര്‍ വരെ പെരിയാറ്, എടയാറിനപ്പുറം വിഷ ആറ്! | Periyar Pollution |

TrueCopy Think focuses on the deterioration of the quality of water in the Periyar river. The report questions the inaction of the Kerala Pollution Control Board with the needle of suspicion pointed towards nearby industries and their illegal discharge of untreated water into the river.

Watch Here


10 Great And Good Things To Wish For In 2022 – And Beyond

As India is buffeted by multiple challenges, Swarajya calls for formal mechanisms to deal with internal divides, and hopes that leaders, institutions and citizens will rise to their best if the new year is to be kinder and benign than the last.

Read Here

More from the grantees
Loan Sharks Circle Tamil Nadu Despite High Financial Literacy
The Citizen investigates the practice of ‘Kandhu Vatti’ – usury interest going up to 60 per cent – charged by loan sharks on gullible citizens of Tamil Nadu – in the absence of access to formal financial institutions.
Editorial with Sujit Nair | Is prime time news degenerating our youth?
HW News deliberates on how Indian primetime news channels discuss crass politics and sectarian issues ignoring more critical concerns about Covid, healthcare and the economy. The show asks if this deliberate dumbing down is leading to regression among the youth.
Assam: Despite CM’s assurance, illegal coal mining continues in Tinsukia
EastMojo reports on the illegal coal mining in Margherita in Tinsukia district in Assam, which continues unabated despite Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stating in the assembly that the illegal activity had been shut down.
Majha Barhata, Ayodhya: Villagers claim, govt took consent by force to install ‘world’s tallest’ Ram statue in UP
The Probe chronicles the despair of the residents of Majha Barhata, a gram panchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya district, whose lands have allegedly been taken ‘forcefully’ to install the world’s tallest statue of Hindu deity Ram, leaving hundreds displaced.
‘First They Came For Our Lifestyle, Then Our Livelihoods, Now Our Right To Life’
Article 14 documents the journey of independent journalist Alishan Jafri, who traces the history of hate against religious minorities and how hate crimes have hurt the lives of these communities.
‘Raising GST will spell doom for us’: Pochampally, Gadwal weavers distraught
While the GST Council recently deferred its decision to hike the tax rate on textiles to 12 per cent, The News Minute records the fears of the Gadwal and Pochampally handloom weavers, who say that raising GST would prove costly to many artisans.
सरकारी नोकरी सोडत शिक्षक दाम्पत्याने वंचित, शोषित मुलांसाठी उभारली शाळा
Max Maharashtra speaks to a teacher-couple who mortgaged their jewellery and took loans to start a school for the children from the marginalised communities, as part of the ‘Snehagram’ project in the Banshi area in Solapur district.
Living as ‘anonymous persons’, female sex workers deprived of government benefits
Imphal Free Press reports that stigmatisation, social exclusion, discrimination and abuse of female sex workers in Manipur, and the recourse to anonymity, deprive them of benefits of government welfare schemes.

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