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'Black fungus' complication adds to India's COVID-19 woes

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The 'black fungus' or mucormycosis is adding agony to the recovered COVID-19 patients in India as hospitals report a rise in cases of the rare but potentially fatal infection. India has not published national data on mucormycosis but has said there is no major outbreak. The U.S. Department of State on Wednesday released its 2020 International Religious Freedom report, which highlights a downward spiral of religious expression in Pakistan, most notably in the form of blasphemy laws. It also expresses concern over increasing frequency of attempts to forcibly convert and forcibly marry women from religious minority communities.  Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the withdrawal of foreign troops represented the "greatest opportunity" for the country as people marked the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr on Thursday. Ghani observed prayers at the presidential palace and in an address to the nation called on the Taliban to choose peace or destruction.Despite government's denial about infection of coronavirus amongst climbers, an expedition organizer of Nepal has confirmed infection amongst the climbers and members of teams this season. This comes as Nepal's Tourism Ministry earlier this month denied reports of infection running amongst mountaineers.Bangladesh on Wednesday received 500,000 doses of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine as a gift to continue its vaccination drive, which was halted due to the shortage of AstraZeneca jabs produced by the Serum Institute of India. The Chinese vaccines arrived in the country as the ties between the two countries apparently witnessed a sudden strain with China warning Bangladesh against joining the Quad alliance.Volunteers of a non-profit organization have come forward to collect the ashes of India's unclaimed dead from crematoriums in and around national capital New Delhi to give the bodies a respectful send off as per Hindu traditions, amid an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 deaths.
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