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Egypt

Voting For New Egyptian Constitution Has Begun - See The Ballot

AL AHRAM, MASRAWY(Egypt)

Worldcrunch

CAIRO – The very first Egyptians, those residing abroad, began casting their ballots Wednesday to say “yes” or “no” for the country's new Constitution.

They will have until Saturday to either send their voting card by post or present themselves in the voting bureaus in voting offices in their respective embassies, Al Ahram reported.

The Egyptian embassy in New Zealand was the first to open its doors to voters, with the embassy in Los Angeles set to be the last to receive them.

The voting card sent to Egyptians. Blue is for "Yes," Brown "No" to new Constitution

After a night of protests against the Constitution, the National Front for Saving Egypt, which is composed of the prominent opposition figures such as El Baradei, Amr Moussa and Hamdin Sabbahi, called voters to vote “no” and discouraged them from boycotting the referendum.

According to Masrawy, the spokesman of the Front condemned the decision of the High Commission for Elections to extend the vote to two rounds, insisting on having a one-time vote, as a condition for considering the process legitimate.

Some 586,000 Egyptians are expected to vote, as the electoral lists did not change since the presidential elections last spring. Article 10 of the law on political rights forbids any change on the lists after citizens have been called to vote.

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Coronavirus

As COVID Explodes, An Inside Look At China's Gray Market Of Generic Drugs

COVID infections have skyrocketed since China eased restrictions as public health policy has not been able to keep up. Unable to find medications, many have turned to generic drugs of questionable safety. It's the culmination of a longstanding problem.

Photo of a pharmarcist walking past shelves with medication in Yucheng, northern China

A pharmacy in Yucheng, northern China

Xian Zhu and Feiyu Xiang

BEIJING — When her grandfather joined the millions of infected Chinese, Chen quickly decided to buy COVID-19 drugs to limit the effects of the virus. She woke up early to shop on Jingdong, one of China’s biggest online shopping websites, but failed in snatching the limited daily stocks made available.

Fearing COVID's effect on her grandfather, who suffers from dementia, she contacted an independent drug agent and bought a box of generic pharmaceuticals.

With China having suddenly ended its zero-COVID policy, infections have peaked. According to the latest estimates by Airfinity, a British medical information and analysis company, severe COVID outbreaks happened over Chinese New Year with 62 million infections forecast for the second half of January.

In a press conference held by China's State Council on Jan. 11, COVID-19 pills were mentioned as part of the new epidemic control mechanisms. In late 2021, Pfizer developed Paxlovid, the world's first potent COVID drug, with one 100 mg white ritonavir and two 150 mg light pink nirmatrelvir tablets taken every 12 hours. China imported the first batch of Paxlovid for clinical use in March 2022 and included it in the ninth edition of the treatment protocol.

But the first 21,200 boxes of Paxlovid were dispersed to only eight provinces, and no further information is available on where the drug ended up and how much it was used.

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