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Members of ethnic groups been protesting in front Brasilia's Congress against a bill that could loosen protections for their lands
Members of ethnic groups been protesting in front Brasilia's Congress against a bill that could loosen protections for their lands

Welcome to Wednesday, where the toll of Canada's record heatwave is multiplying, Tigray rebels dismiss a government ceasefire and a British rock legend gets to keep his railroad jingle. As Pride Month draws to an end, we also look at how LGBTQ+ activists in several African countries confront the challenge of overcoming conservative attitudes and the legacy of colonialism.

• Dozens dead in Canada heatwave: In Canada's western province, British Columbia, where few households have access to air conditioning, temperatures continue to shatter previous records, going as high as 49.6 °C (121.3 °F) in the city of Lytton. Since Friday, police in the Vancouver area have reported more than 130 sudden deaths where heat was a contributing factor, with most among the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

• COVID update: A lab study has shown that the Moderna vaccine produces neutralizing antibodies against the Delta variant, though it remains most effective against the original strain of the virus. Meanwhile, Singapore hopes to stop tracking daily COVID numbers, as the country gears up to have at least two-thirds of its population fully vaccinated by Aug. 9.

• Letter warned Florida Condo residents of structural damage: Residents of the Surfside Champlain Towers South building, which partially collapsed last week, reportedly received a letter in April warning them of "worsening structural damage" to the building. The letter is further evidence that the building's structural issues were known prior to the collapse, which thus far 12 dead bodies have been reported and 149 people are still unaccounted for.

• Tigray rebels call ceasefire a "joke": The Tigray People's Liberation Front's (TPLF) referred to the government's unilaterally declared ceasefire as a "joke", saying that fighting has continued on the border with the Afar region. The TPLF spokesman said that the rebels would not stop fighting until the entire region was under their control.

• U.S. army to complete Afghanistan pull-out within days: United States military officials told Reuters that the complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan could occur within days, even though September 11 had been set as the expected date of departure. Though some troops will remain to protect the U.S. embassy and Kabul airport, as many as more than 4,000 troops may depart by mid-July. The announcement came shortly after the U.N. Afghan envoy warned of "dire scenarios' should Taliban fighters gain more ground.

• Dutch ship harassed by Russian fighter jets in Black Sea: The Dutch Defense Minister reports that armed Russian fighter jets harassed a Dutch navy frigate in the Black Sea last week, shortly after a similar incident occurred between Russian forces and a British warship. Russia responded to the allegation, claiming it scrambled fighter jets and bombers to prevent the Dutch ship from sailing into Russian waters.

• 5,000 year old plague "Patient Zero" discovered: Researchers have gained new insight into the pandemic … the one that terrorized our ancestors during the Middle Ages. The remains of a 5,000-year-old hunter-gatherer in Latvia confirm that he is the first known person to have died from the plague, adding credence to the theory that the disease emerged around 7,000 years ago, alongside the rise of agriculture in Europe.

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Society

Taking A Position: A Call To Regulate Yoga In India

Trained practitioners warn that unregulated yoga can be detrimental to people's health. The government in India, where the ancient practice was invented, knows this very well — yet continues to postpone regulation.

Prime Minister Modi at a mass yoga demonstration in Lucknow, India

Banjot Kaur

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the observance of the eighth International Yoga Day from Mysuru, in southwestern India, early on the morning of June 21. Together with his colleagues from the Bharatiya Janata Party, he set out to mark the occasion in various parts of the country — reviving an annual ritual that had to take a break for the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoga is one of the five kinds of alternative Indian medicine listed under India’s AYUSH efforts — standing for "Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and naturopathy, and Homeopathy." Among them, only yoga is yet to be regulated under any Act of Parliament: All other practices are governed by the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM), Act 2020.

Yoga and naturopathy are taught at the undergraduate level in 70 medical colleges across 14 Indian states. The Mangalore University in Karnataka first launched this course in 1989; today, these subjects are also taught at the postgraduate level.

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