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Recent News

Science • Medicine
A third Pfizer dose is likely needed within 12 months, says CEO
A third Pfizer dose is likely needed within 12 months, says CEO
Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, stated that a third dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is "likely" needed within 12 months in order to get fully vaccinated.

“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role,” so Bourla.

Regional News • Americas • United States
The US expelled 10 Russian diplomats and issues sanctions over SolarWinds hacking attack

The US has announced sanctions against Russian entities and expelled 10 Russian diplomats in response to a hacking attack and election interference.

President Joe Biden's executive order "sends a signal that the United States will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia if it continues or escalates its destabilising international action," the White House said.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Actress Helen McCrory dies aged 52
Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis in 2013
Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis in 2013 Credit: Sean Reynolds from Liverpool, United Kingdom, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The British actress Helen McCrory, best known for her roles in Harry Potter, Peaky Blinders and Penny Dreadful, has died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer.

Her husband Damian Lewis announced her death on Twitter, writing: "I'm heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and might woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family. She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you."

Science • Animals
Pensioner fulfils old promise by donating €750,000 to German zoo
Pensioner fulfils old promise by donating €750,000 to German zoo
Credit: Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Münster, Allwetterzoo -- 2014 -- 8244” (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

An 82-year-old man from Münster (Germany) has fulfilled an old promise he made to his wife who died years ago - and has given Münster Zoo the largest single donation in its history: the zoo has now received 750,000 euros from Horst Eschler.

Zoo director Simone Schehka thanked the donor at a press event on Thursday. The zoo wants to use the money to finance the renovation of its bear house, among other things, she said. A trip to Australia was the deciding factor, the donor said. There he had seen how animals suffered from the devastating bush fires and how many people had helped them.

Regional News • Europe
Europe surpasses 1 million Covid-19 deaths
Europe surpasses 1 million Covid-19 deaths
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1 million people have died from Covid-19 in Europe, the World Health Organization announced on Thursday.

The WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge warned that the situation remains "serious," with about 1.6 million new cases reported each week in the region.

Regional News • Europe
Denmark stops AstraZeneca vaccine rollout completely
Denmark stops AstraZeneca vaccine rollout completely
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Denmark has removed the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from its vaccination program, saying it is not needed because the country has already reached "such an advanced point" in its vaccine rollout.

The Danish Health Authority said studies had shown a higher than expected frequency of blood clots following doses, affecting about one in 40,000 people.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Amazon introduces new Echo Buds with improved performance and design
Echo Buds, Glacier White
Echo Buds, Glacier White Credit: Amazon

Amazon has announced the launch of its second-generation wireless earbuds "Echo Buds", featuring a more comfortable design as well as improved active noise cancellation and better microphones.

“The all-new Echo Buds are better in so many ways—a smaller design, a more comfortable fit, Active Noise Cancellation technology, a new color and wireless charging option, and high-performance drivers for dynamic audio,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa.

Sports
Officials say Olympic cancellation, no fans still an option
Officials say Olympic cancellation, no fans still an option
Credit: Kyle Dias

According to the Kyodo news agency, Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic party, said in a television interview on Thursday that cancelling this year's Olympic Games could be an option if Covid-19 infections continue to rise.

It is the first time that a senior government figure has admitted on the record that the Tokyo competition might not go ahead should the pandemic situation in Japan intensify.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden says US to leave Afghanistan on September 11
Biden says US to leave Afghanistan on September 11
Credit: The U.S. Army, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday the withdrawal of all United States troops from Afghanistan by September 11, after two decades of fighting militants. The US would miss a May deadline for a pull-out agreed with the Trump administration's Taliban last year.

"It's time to end this forever war," said Biden.

Regional News • Middle East
Egypt seizes Ever Given ship in Suez Canal, demands $900 million in compensation
Ever Given ship
Ever Given ship Credit: kees torn, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

An Egyptian court ordered the vessel's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, to pay $900 million in compensation due to losses inflicted when the Panamanian-flagged Ever Given prevented marine traffic from transiting through the vital global trade waterway.

Shoei Kisen Kaisha said insurance companies and lawyers were working on the compensation claim and refused to comment further.

UK Club, the protection and indemnity insurer for the Ever Given, said Tuesday that they had responded to a claim from the Suez Canal Authority for $916 million and questioned its basis.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany's highest court has ruled that Berlin's 'Mietendeckel', or rent control law, is unconstitutional
Germany's highest court has ruled that Berlin's 'Mietendeckel', or rent control law, is unconstitutional
Credit: unsplash.com / Pavel Nekoranec

The Federal Constitutional Court said that a policy to freeze rents in Berlin for the next five years to combat soaring living costs was unlawful in a ruling published on Thursday morning.

The capital’s “Mietendeckel” law or rent cap “violates the Basic Law and is thus ruled void”, the court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe said in a blow to millions of tenants.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
France suspends all Brazil flights due to Covid-19 variants
France suspends all Brazil flights due to Covid-19 variants
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

France suspended all flights from Brazil on Tuesday amid mounting fears over the particularly contagious Covid variant that has been sweeping the South American country.

"We note that the situation is getting worse and so we have decided to suspend all flights between Brazil and France until further notice," Castex said, drawing scattered applause from lawmakers.

Castex noted that travelers from Brazil already needed to test negative for the virus before their departure and upon arrival in France, and also quarantine for 10 days.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Ponzi scheme architect Bernie Madoff dies in prison aged 82
Ponzi scheme architect Bernie Madoff dies in prison aged 82
Credit: U.S. Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Bernard L. Madoff, the con artist behind the largest private Ponzi scheme in history, has died at the age of 82 in federal prison. Madoff bilked thousands of investors, including Steven Spielberg, Fred Wilpon and Kevin Bacon, out of an estimated $65 billion and was convicted in 2009 to 150 years in prison. He defrauded around 37,000 people in 136 countries.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Will Smith movie 'Emancipation' abandons Georgia over voting restrictions
Will Smith speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International
Will Smith speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith announced they would move production on their runaway slave thriller "Emancipation" out of Georgia in protest over the state's controversial new voting restrictions. This is the first film to pull its production out of the state because of the legislation.

“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” said Smith and Fuqua in a joint statement Monday.

Regional News • Europe
Johnson & Johnson to delay vaccine rollout in Europe
Johnson & Johnson to delay vaccine rollout in Europe
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

Johnson & Johnson has announced Tuesday it will "proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe" after six women in the US developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

"The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority. We are aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our Covid-19 vaccine. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six reported US cases out of more than 6.8 million doses administered. Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the use of our vaccine," the company said. "In addition, we have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities. We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe. We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Lucy Liu joins Helen Mirren in the Shazam sequel
Lucy Liu at Elementary panel at 2012 Comic-Con
Lucy Liu at Elementary panel at 2012 Comic-Con

After Dame Helen Mirren's announcement as Hespera, the divine foe that will face down Billy Batson, the Shazam sequel added Lucy Liu to its cast as Kalypso.

The Shazam! sequel stars Zachary Levi as the adult version of teenager Billy Batson (a reprising Asher Angel), who transforms into a superhero. David F. Sandberg is back as director.

Regional News • Asia • India
Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine approved in India
Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine approved in India
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

India's Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved use of Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine. India is said to produce 750 million doses of the Russian vaccine.

"India, the world’s 2nd most populous nation, became the 60th country to register #SputnikV after positive results of local Phase 3 clinical study. Sputnik V is now authorized in 60 countries with a population of over 3 [billion] people," the Sputnik V official Twitter account wrote.

Science • Medicine
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

After six women developed a rare disorder involving blood clots after being administered the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, US health agencies have called for an immediate pause of the vaccine.

“Today FDA and @CDCgov issued a statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson #COVID19 vaccine. We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the Food and Drug Administration wrote on Twitter.

Climate & Environment
Japan wants to discharge one million tonnes of contaminated Fukushima water into the sea
IAEA Experts at Fukushima
IAEA Experts at Fukushima Credit: IAEA Imagebank (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Japan will discharge over one million tonnes of treated water from the Fukushima disaster reactor into the sea. Head of government Yoshihide Suga announced this decision to dispose of the water on Tuesday. The plans have already sparked protests from environmentalists, fishermen and farmers in the region, as well as concern in Beijing and Seoul. Dumping the water is expected to take years.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Next Apple event apparently on April 20, according to Siri
Credit: Apple

The date for this Spring's Apple event will take place on April 20, according to Siri. When asked about the date of the next Apple, Siri responded with "The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on Apple.com," MacRumors reported.