Jan 16, 2022

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Japan weighs state of quasi-emergency for Tokyo

  • Last week, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the capital would request measures such as a quasi-emergency if the use of beds allocated for Covid-19 patients climbed to 20 per cent.
  • Japan's government is discussing whether to impose a quasi-state of emergency in the capital, Tokyo, and surrounding areas this week to contain a surge in Covid-19 infections, broadcaster FNN said on Monday (Jan 17).
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Tokyo woman who thought Chinese sperm donor was Japanese sues for US$2.9m

By Julian Ryall
A compensation suit filed by a Tokyo woman against a sperm donor who she claims deceived her has underlined the need for regulation of a health care sector that’s likely to come under increasing scrutiny in ageing Japan, experts say.The woman, whose name is being withheld under court privacy rules, is understood to be married and in her 30s. She had one child with her husband before he was diagnosed with a serious hereditary illness that prevented the couple from having more children.Desperate […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Textbook dilemma traps US, China in a war spiral

By Denny Roy
  • The United States sees the status quo as de facto Taiwan independence unless and until Taiwan’s people decide, free of coercion, to politically unify with mainland China.
  • The US government has reacted with alarm to China’s recent military pressure on Taiwan, which mainly consists of a large increase of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) warplane sorties into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) since 2020.
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Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Jan. 17

  • Foreigners will be able to obtain a coronavirus health pass — QR code — in Russia by taking an antibody test, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said Friday.
  • — Russia will be “covered” by the Omicron variant and should brace for a “very high” number of Covid-19 cases, Alexander Gintsburg, the head of the state-run Gamaleya Institute which developed the country’s Sputnik V vaccine, said.
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Why thyroids should be a NCD: spread the word

By Isabel Klinnert, Director Government and Public Affairs, Merck Healthcare
  • The NCD Alliance policy brief on thyroid as a NCD shows that significant barriers exist in terms of NCDs outside the ‘5×5’ approach, by putting a spotlight on endocrine health and providing case studies on thyroid disorders and kidney disease.
  • More recommendations to include thyroid disorders as part of the global NCD policy agenda can be found here .
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India’s lopsided recovery worries experts

By KS Kumar
  • Former World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu said India’s overall macroeconomic situation is in recovery mode, but expressed concern that growth is concentrated at the top end.
  • In an interview with the Economic Times, he said the export industry was doing well and India’s IT industry was upbeat as global demand is on the rise.
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Fate of Nazi-looted Pissarro to be decided by US supreme court

By Ashifa Kassam in Madrid
  • In 2015 a California court ruled that ownership of the painting fell under Spanish law, meaning it was property of the museum as per a Spanish clause that defines ownership as six years of uninterrupted possession.
  • Instead the legal battle – including the question now being put to the supreme court – has centred on whether California or Spanish law should be used to determine the painting’s rightful owner.
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Eurasia’s Ring of Fire: The Epic Struggle over the Epicenter of U.S. Global Power

By Alfred W. McCoy
  • After the Axis alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan failed to conquer that vast land mass, the Allied victory in World War II allowed Washington, as historian John Darwin put it, to build its “colossal imperium… on an unprecedented scale,” becoming the first power in history to control the strategic axial points “at both ends of Eurasia.”
  • To tie the two axial ends of that vast land mass into a strategic perimeter, Washington ringed the continent’s southern rim with successive chains of steel, including three navy fleets, hundreds of combat aircraft, and most recently, a string of 60 drone bases stretching from Sicily to the Pacific island of Guam.
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How China’s health-care mutual aid industry folded in just 3 years

  • The shutdown of Ant Group's Xiang Hu Bao, the largest crowdfunded health-care platform in China, completed the collapse of a booming insurance-like industry just three years after its emergence.
  • Online mutual aid platforms required no threshold for participants, which might work well in attracting members at first, but inevitably the programs eventually become more attractive to high-risk groups, the executive said.
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Covid cases grow in ‘fortress WA’

  • Dozens of locations have been added to Western Australia’s growing list of Covid-19 exposure sites as the state recorded three new cases overnight, including one who was infectious in the community.
  • Two shopping centres have been added to WA’s fast-growing Covid-19 exposure sites list as the state recorded three new cases, including one who was infectious in the community.
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Omicron penetrates China’s political, financial and tech hubs

  • China has detected locally-transmitted omicron infections in the capital Beijing, the financial center Shanghai, and Guangdong — where the southern technology center of Shenzhen is located — areas which together account for one-fifth of the country’s gross domestic product.
  • The person who contracted the first known omicron infection in Beijing received international mail, which subsequently tested positive for the virus, said Pang Xinghuo, an official with the city’s health agency, at a briefing.
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Ex-Pentagon strategist Elbridge Colby bells the dragon

By David P Goldman
  • He appears to presume that China will not sink American fleet carriers, or blind American GPS and communications satellites, or destroy the American base at Guam with long-range missiles, or neutralize Taiwan’s military resources with massed missile attacks, but, rather, will fight a limited war according to rules amenable to Washington.
  • Colby claims the United States can fight a limited war with China, but gives us little reason to believe him.
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All of Japan’s 47 prefectures sent officials to disaster areas, survey shows

  • By prefecture, Tokyo and Kochi tied for dispatching officials to the most destinations, with each sending support staff to a total of 14 areas, including Kumamoto Prefecture and Hokkaido, hit by powerful quakes in 2016 and 2018, respectively, as well as Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures, deluged by heavy rainfall in 2018, according to the survey.
  • All 47 prefectures and 20 major cities across Japan sent officials to support areas affected by natural disasters over the five years through fiscal 2020, which ended in March of last year, according to a recent Kyodo News survey.
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Green hydrogen: Can Australia build a new industry?

By Steven Percy
  • My research shows that as of next year, and based on where the cheapest renewables are, the best places to produce green hydrogen are far north Queensland and Tasmania.
  • The Australian government predicts green hydrogen exports and domestic use could be worth up to A$50 billion (US$36 billion) within 30 years, helping the world achieve deep decarbonization.
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Why MLK would have Launched Nonviolent Disobedience to pass the Freedom to Vote Act

By Juan Cole
  • As the Republican Party has become more and more inflected by white nationalism, its officials have begun attempting to undo the gains of the Civil Rights Movement led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., which ended the Deep South’s practices of segregation and denying the vote to African-Americans.
  • The Southern states initiated a gold rush to restrict the right to vote with new tactics, rather than the old literacy tests, using voter ID requirements and reducing the number of polling stations in heavily minority counties.
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Covid-19 Omicron variant jumps to new city in southern China after family drive

By Holly Chik
The Covid-19 Omicron variant continues to spread in China, with a cross-city infection reported in the southern province of Guangdong.Authorities in the city of Meizhou urged people to stay put after an 11-year-old boy tested positive for the highly transmissible variant on Sunday. He has been transferred to neighbouring Shenzhen for treatment.The boy is a close contact of a confirmed case in Zhuhai, also in Guangdong province. He arrived in Meizhou on Tuesday night with his parents – after a […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Coronavirus: New Zealand says Omicron arrival imminent; Singaporean infected with 2 variants in 8 months

By Agencies
New Zealand is bracing for the arrival of Omicron, with the highly infectious Covid-19 variant expected to breach the nation’s closed border at any time.“We know that with Omicron it is a case of when, not if,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Monday in Auckland. “We’re doing what we can, but I think it would be wrong for us to assume that those border measures will be sufficient. At some point, we will see Omicron in the community.”The government has delayed a phased […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Yoon leads poll again after seemingly successful campaign efforts

By Ko Jun-tae
  • Successful campaign efforts from Yoon’s side following the end of a damaging internal feud, as well as the abrupt death of a whistleblower in a case involving main rival Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, are believed to have aided Yoon in garnering more support in the last week.
  • A Realmeter poll of 3,031 voters commissioned by OhmyNews that ran from Jan. 9 to Friday showed Yoon leading with 40.6 percent support, up 6.5 percentage points from a week earlier.
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North Korea fires more suspected missiles, flouts new sanctions

  • North Korea fired two suspected ballistic missiles Monday, Seoul said, its fourth weapons test this month as Pyongyang flexes its military muscle while ignoring offers of talks from the United States.
  • Despite biting international sanctions, Pyongyang has conducted a string of weapons tests this year, including hypersonic missiles, as leader Kim Jong Un pursues his avowed goal of further strengthening the military.
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Nigeria: Child Marriage Violates Girls’ Rights

By Human Rights Watch
  • In August and September 2021, Human Rights Watch remotely interviewed 16 married girls between the ages of 14 and 19, and representatives at eight civil society organizations working to end child marriage and gender-based violence in Imo and Kano states.
  • Human Rights Watch found that married girls in Imo and Kano states are denied their fundamental rights to education, a safe dwelling, and freedom from violence, and often do not have access to adequate health care.
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How the Tonga volcano has been felt around the world – video

A large underwater volcano in Tonga has sent huge swells around the world affecting countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. The tsunami waves caused damage to boats as far away as New Zealand and large swells were seen in California and Japan but did not appear to cause any widespread damage. Two people have drowned off a beach in northern Peru, local authorities say, after unusually high waves were recorded in several coastal areas

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Narrow escape for 3 in Hong Kong as Lexus driver ‘loses control while reversing’, mounts pavement

By Clifford Lo
Three pedestrians escaped serious injury when an out-of-control Lexus sedan mounted a pavement and hit them as the driver tried to reverse on a busy market street in Hong Kong on Monday.The driver, 68, had pulled over at a lay-by on Shui Wo Street near the junction with Shung Yan Street in Kwun Tong at about 9.30am, with his passenger leaving the grey luxury vehicle.“A preliminary investigation suggested the driver tried to reverse, but he stepped on the pedal heavily. The car then careered out […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Military Flights Have Been Sent to Assess the Damage in Tonga After a Huge Volcanic Eruption

By NICK PERRY / AP
  • New Zealand and Australia were able to send military surveillance flights to Tonga on Monday to assess the damage a huge undersea volcanic eruption left in the Pacific island nation.
  • The company that owns the single underwater fiber-optic cable that connects the island nation to the rest of the world said it likely was severed in the eruption and repairs could take weeks.
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Climate change: Renewable energy to meet over 70 per cent of China’s additional power needs in next three years, says IEA

By Eric Ng
Renewable energy will meet over 70 per cent of China’s additional electricity demand in the next three years as coal’s role in powering the world’s second largest economy continues to decline, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest projection.Additional demand refers to any increase from today’s level.Even as state subsidies are being phased out, the rapid growth of onshore wind and solar farm installations is expected to continue, with their combined generating capacity surging […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 17, 2022

  • I’m trying to see their perspective, but it’s really difficult when I daily read lies and vitriol on social media and in newspapers, including in my beloved Toronto Sun. Most of the unvaxxed that I know just don’t like anyone, especially the government, telling them what to do.
  • This virus is tearing up families, our health-care system, businesses, and the very fabric of our society.
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UK planning to scrap self-isolation law as reported Covid-19 cases fall

By Agencies
The United Kingdom is drawing up plans under which people will not be legally bound to self-isolate after catching Covid-19, a report said.Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to permanently revoke emergency coronavirus laws as Britain’s Covid-19 cases continue to fall, The Telegraph reported Sunday, adding official guidance would remain but would not result in fines or legal punishment if ignored.The plans will be worked up over the coming weeks, with an announcement expected as early as the […]Read more >Similar articles >
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North Korea fires short-range missiles in 4th launch this year

  • North Korea fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea Monday in its fourth weapons launch this month, South Korea’s military said, with the apparent goal of demonstrating its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures.
  • North Korea had conducted a pair of flight tests of a purported hypersonic missile on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11 and also test-fired ballistic missiles from a train Friday in an apparent reprisal over fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration last week for its continuing test launches.
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‘Less leniency’: AFL cracking down on duckers

  • As a tighter interpretation of the existing rules, in 2022, a free kick will be awarded against a Player who ducks their head prior to being legally tackled and does not immediately and correctly dispose of the football.
  • “Following meetings with each of the 18 AFL clubs across November and December last year, we have worked closely as a Football Operations and Umpiring Department to tighten up on the interpretations of existing rules relating to time delay and holding the ball,” AFL Executive General Manager, Andrew Dillon said.
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Omicron penetrates China’s political, financial and tech hubs

  • The person who contracted the first known omicron infection in Beijing received international mail, which subsequently tested positive for the virus, said Pang Xinghuo, an official with the city's health agency, at a briefing.
  • China has detected locally transmitted Omicron infections in the capital Beijing, the financial center Shanghai, and Guangdong, where the southern technology centre of Shenzhen is located, which together account for one-fifth of the country's gross domestic product.
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‘New life’: High-rise plan for Sydney’s historic Shelbourne Hotel

By Megan Gorrey
  • The advice noted the existing hotel building had undergone substantial changes, including a complete reconstruction of the interior, which had retained portions of the building’s “heritage fabric”.
  • “Although the two facades are proposed to be retained, the proposal will still have a substantial impact on the heritage building on site,” Heritage NSW said.
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UAE imports M-SAM2 on Moon’s visit

By Shin Ji-hye
  • President Moon Jae-in, who is visiting the United Arab Emirates, met with Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Dubai Expo on Sunday and discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in defense, nuclear power plants and Korea’s plan to host the 2030 Busan Expo.
  • The UAE Ministry of Defence announced a plan to import M-SAM2 in November last year, but the purchase contract was finalized after the meeting between the top leaders of the two countries.
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Retailers could face huge fines for price gouging rapid antigen tests, watchdog warns

  • Mr Sims labelled retail mark-ups of more than 100 per cent on rapid antigen tests as "beyond the pale" and said the agency was working with the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) and the Australian Federal Police to stamp this out.
  • The evidence of marked-up pricing has been uncovered by the ACCC from an investigation launched in December, as the supply of rapid tests has struggled to keep up with soaring demand in response to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases around Australia.
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Kerry Chant warns death toll will rise in NSW as Australia records 31 new COVID-19 deaths

  • NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, speaking to reporters in Sydney on Monday, said: "Given the broader community transmission of COVID, I would like to flag that the number of deaths (is) likely to be high over coming days.
  • Victoria has recorded 22,429 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths as authorities begin handing out millions of RATs to essential workers and vulnerable people.
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Coronavirus: untraceable Delta variant case is ‘strange’, says Hong Kong health chief, as expert suggests source may have ‘slipped through cracks’ after quarantine

By Gigi Choy
Hong Kong’s health minister has called an untraceable Delta coronavirus variant case uncovered the day before “strange”, while one expert has suggested the source was likely to be someone infected during quarantine who “slipped through the cracks” and made it into the community.The preliminary-positive case, reported on Sunday, involved a 23-year-old woman with a high viral load who developed symptoms on Tuesday but did not submit samples until Friday.Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan […]Read more >Similar articles >
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‘Wears you down’: Aussie skipper is knackered

  • Worn out Australian captain Aaron Finch is in need of a break after enduring life in the Big Bash bubble but concedes he’s unlikely to get one in the days before Australia’s hectic white ball schedule gets underway.
  • Finch has been burning the candle at both ends for the best part of six months — since July, he’s captained Australia in the T20 series in the West Indies, flown home early from that tour for knee surgery, become a father for the first time, led Australia to T20 World Cup victory and opened the batting for the Melbourne Renegades in BBL|11.
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‘It’s excruciating’: brother of UK woman swept away in Tonga tsunami waits for news

By Kate Lyons Pacific Editor
  • His sister, 50-year-old Angela Glover, was swept away from the beach along with her husband and four or five of the couple’s dogs by a tsunami triggered by a huge volcanic eruption.
  • The brother of a British woman who was swept away from the coast of Tonga by the tsunami on Saturday and is still missing, has told the Guardian he has grave fears for her safety.
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Plight of the Rohingya cannot be ignored: Dawn

  • A huge blaze in a refugee camp housing members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh last week has left up to 5,000 people homeless, highlighting the miserable conditions the group continues to live in.
  • Driven from their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state due to ethnic violence, hundreds of thousands live in subhuman conditions, mostly in Bangladeshi camps, where such tragedies are commonplace.
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‘Not knowing is heartbreaking’: sleepless nights among Tongan diaspora after contact with country cut off

By Kate Lyons in Sydney and Tess McClure in Auckland
  • Some, like Taumoepeau, have been tuning in to Facebook livestreams from Tongan churches, media outlets and community groups based in Australia, New Zealand and the US.
  • “I would say I’ve had four hours [of sleep each night] at the most,” says Taumoepeau, a Tongan-Australian artist and activist based in Sydney.
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MOH conducting pilot for virtually supervised Covid-19 antigen rapid tests

  • A pilot programme to assess the feasibility of real-time virtually supervised self-swab ARTs is being conducted, the Ministry of Health (MOH) told The Straits Times on Sunday (Jan 16).
  • During the 30-minute consultation, the person taking the test will have to keep his video camera on and ensure that the ART kit is visible so that results can be verified by the swab supervisor.
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One-bedroom apartment rents jump more in Vancouver than any other major Canadian city

  • Rent for one-bedroom apartments in Vancouver rose more than in any other major Canadian city over the past year, according to data released on Sunday by a real-estate advisory firm and a rentals website.
  • According to Bullpen Research and Consulting and rental.ca’s latest National Rent Report, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom home in Vancouver rose 13.2 per cent to $2,176 from December 2020 to December 2021.
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Telenor dumps Myanmar fintech leader Wave Money

By Dominic Oo
  • The Telenor Group has agreed to sell its majority share in digital financial service provider Wave Money to a consortium led by Myanmar tycoon Serge Pun’s Yoma Strategic, the latest divestiture in the Norwegian telecom giant’s retreat from the crisis-torn country.
  • The companies entered an agreement for Telenor to sell its 51% controlling share of the mobile payment platform for US$53 million to a Yoma Strategic subsidiary, a January 17 statement announcing the transaction said.
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Stolen election belief undimmed for Donald Trump fans. Republicans wish different

By Agence France-Presse
Jonathan Riches has been to 40 Donald Trump rallies and fervently believes the last US presidential election was stolen.Like thousands of others who spent hours in a dusty field in Arizona this weekend to watch the former president speak, that belief is a bedrock – no matter how much the Republican Party leadership wishes otherwise.“We love our president. I call him President Trump because I still consider him my president,” Riches, 44, said.Riches was among fellow believers in Florence, 100km […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Workers on life in India’s post-Covid, post-Great Resignation, gig economy: ‘Like I’m working all the time’

By Vasudevan Sridharan
Whether it is the work-from-home revolution or the Great Resignation, the global workforce has seen plenty of twists and turns in the more than two years since a “novel” coronavirus first hit the headlines.Among the most seismic shifts, however, is how the pandemic has fuelled a trend that was already under way: the rise of the gig economy in which workers take on temporary, flexible jobs, often arranged online, rather than full-time employment.And there are few places where that shift has been […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Kerry Chant warns NSW death toll will rise as Australia records 31 new COVID-19 deaths

  • NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, speaking to reporters in Sydney on Monday, said: "Given the broader community transmission of COVID, I would like to flag that the number of deaths (is) likely to be high over coming days.
  • Victoria has recorded 22,429 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths as authorities begin handing out millions of RATs to essential workers and vulnerable people.
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Number of Covid-19 patients in ICUs has risen to highest level since spring 2020

THE NUMBER of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has surged to its highest level since the first wave of epidemic in spring 2020.

YLE on Monday reported that a total of 72 coronavirus patients were in intensive care in Finland on Sunday, representing a drop of one from Saturday. The number of patients simultaneously in intensive care peaked at more than 80 in April 2020.

[…]Read more >Similar articles >
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Integrated Shield Plan extends coverage for Covid-19 vaccine complications till Dec 31

  • This will apply to all IP policyholders who receive Covid-19 vaccines under the national vaccination programme, the Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA) said on Monday (Jan 17).
  • The Sinovac vaccine was made available last June at private healthcare providers under the Special Access Route, and was included in the national vaccination programme in October.
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Battles for Survival as ‘Partygate’ Engulfs Conservatives

By Andrew Atkinson / Bloomberg
  • Amid warnings that Johnson has one last chance to save his leadership, Conservative Chair Oliver Dowden said the “contrite” prime minister is committed to tackling the “underlying culture” at Downing Street.
  • Boris Johnson faces another bruising week, with his future as U.K. prime minister in the balance amid a furious public backlash over rule-breaking parties at his Downing Street office.
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Undergraduates call on 7 S’pore universities to wean off fossil fuel links

  • The Students for a Fossil Free Future, in a 68-page report published on its website on Monday morning (Jan 17), are calling on seven universities here - including the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) - to take steps such as divesting from the fossil fuel industry and discontinuing research funding associated with the sector.
  • Universities should also not promote jobs in oil, gas or coal sectors at networking or other professional development events, but instead highlight career opportunities in cleaner industries - such as renewable energy sectors - that do not involve the extraction, refinement, or other use of fossil fuels, the report highlighted.
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Don’t look now, but here come Brady and the Buccaneers, again

By John Kryk
  • Three key defenders returned from injury for the Bucs on Sunday, and were impactful: Pass-rushing defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul (who had a QB hit), linebacker Lavonte David (who had two tackles and often was all over the field in pass coverage, per usual) and pass-rusher extraordinaire Shaquil Barrett, who arguably made the play of the game.
  • Gronkowski said it takes solid play from all three phases of the game — offence, defence and special teams — to go on a long playoff run.
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Yet another fast, stumbling, bumbling playoff exit for Jerry’s Cowboys

By John Kryk
  • But the Dallas Cowboys of the 21 st century continue to lose huge games much the same way — either win-to-get-in regular-season finales, or in the playoffs.
  • The latest evidence — under second-year head coach Mike McCarthy and $160-million quarterback Dak Prescott — came Sunday in a dismal 23-17 home-field upset defeat to their old playoff nemesis, the San Francisco 49ers, in the second of three NFC wild-card playoff games.
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Lego sued over leather jacket worn by toy Antoni in Queer Eye set

By Sian Cain
  • An artist has accused Lego of recreating a leather jacket he made for Queer Eye cast-member Antoni Porowski without the artist’s permission, claiming that a toy jacket included in a Lego set based on the Netflix show is a “blatant copy” of his design.
  • In the lawsuit, Concannon alleges that Netflix had consistently asked him for his consent to show his clothes in Queer Eye episodes since 2017, which he gave.
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North Korea Fires Two Suspected Missiles in the Fourth Launch This Year

By KIM TONG-HYUNG / AP
  • North Korea on Monday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its fourth weapons launch this month, South Korea’s military said, with the apparent goal of demonstrating its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures.
  • The launch came after the North conducted a pair of flight tests of a purported hypersonic missile on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11 and also test-fired ballistic missiles from a train Friday in an apparent reprisal over fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration last week for its continuing test launches.
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The poor die from COVID while the rich get richer, Oxfam warns – Al Jazeera English

  • The wealth of the 10 richest men has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, stoking inequality that contributes to the deaths of at least 21,300 people each day, according to a new report released on Monday from Oxfam International.
  • “We enter 2022 with unprecedented concern,” Oxfam’s Inequality Kills (to add link) report warns, arguing that the current global state of extreme inequality is a form of “economic violence” against the world’s poorest people and nations.
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Environment Canada warns winter storms headed for southern Ontario and Quebec

By Canadian Press
  • Snowfall and storm warnings are in effect across much of Ontario, with regions including Niagara, Kingston and Ottawa told to expect as much as 40 centimetres between Sunday night and Monday evening.
  • Environment Canada is warning residents of southern Ontario and Quebec to brace for a winter storm, prompting some school boards to revisit their plans to reopen classrooms Monday.
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Kerry Chant warns death toll will rise in NSW after Australia records 31 new COVID-19 deaths

  • NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, speaking to reporters in Sydney on Monday, said: "Given the broader community transmission of COVID, I would like to flag that the number of deaths (is) likely to be high over coming days.
  • Victoria has recorded 22,429 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths as authorities begin handing out millions of rapid antigen tests (RATs) to essential workers and vulnerable people.
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Millions hunker down as storm hits eastern US

  • Millions of Americans hunkered down on Sunday (Jan 16) as a major winter storm hit the eastern United States with heavy snow and ice, knocking power out to an estimated 235,000 people and counting.
  • The National Weather Service (NWS) said the storm was bringing a miserable combination of heavy snow, freezing rain and high winds, impacting the south-east and coastal mid-Atlantic before moving up to New England and southern Canada.
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North Korea fires two ballistic missiles from Pyongyang airport

By Reuters
North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles from an airport in its capital city of Pyongyang on Monday, South Korea’s military reported, in the fourth test this month.Japan’s government also reported the launch, with chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno condemning them as a threat to the region’s peace and security.In less than two weeks, nuclear-armed North Korea has conducted three other missile tests, an unusual frequency of launches. Two of those involved single […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Why the French media should wean themselves off polls

By John Lichfield
  • CALVADOS, France — In the first 11 days of this year, nine opinion polls were published on the French presidential election.
  • The compound effect of a dominant presidency, a weak parliament, two rounds of voting, the collapse of the left-right duopoly, and the decline of powerful, stable, political parties mean that polls shape events in France, rather than just anticipate them.
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Barnaby Joyce proposes to Vikki Campion four years after headline-making affair

By Sarah Martin
  • Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, has proposed to Vikki Campion almost three years after the high-profile relationship between the deputy prime minister and his political staffer was made public.
  • After being slammed at the time by the then prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, for his “shocking error of judgment” that had created a “world of woe” for the women in his life, Joyce was eventually forced to resign to the backbench after a separate sexual harassment allegation was made against him.
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Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić criticises Australia on Novak Djokovic visa ruling – video

Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić criticises the Australian federal court's decision to dismiss Novak Djokovic's visa appeal as 'political'. 'Of course, all of us in Serbia are very much disappointed with the court's ruling,' says Vučić. 'I think Australian authorities humiliated themselves with these kinds of procedures against Novak Djokovic.'

Djokovic was trying to use a medical exemption to get around the requirements that everyone at the Australian Open - players, their support teams, spectators and others - be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Continue reading […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Health care system hit hard by staffing shortages amid COVID-19 surge

By Andrea Woo Colin Freeze
  • A surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant is being felt broadly across the health care system, with staffing shortages impacting a range of services, including home care, laboratory testing and emergency response.
  • The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA), which has posted daily about ambulance shortages, wait times and short-staffing, is calling on the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services (AHS) to disclose the true impact of Omicron on health care staff.
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How to stay safe on toboggan hills

By Susan Schwartz, Montreal Gazette
  • The Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Centre has treated more than 50 children and teens injured while sledding or tobogganing in the past six weeks — many of them seriously.
  • "We are seeing a significant increase in the number of traumatic injuries," the Montreal Children’s Hospital Trauma Centre says.
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Shrouded by ash, Tonga’s fate remains unclear after powerful volcano erupts

By Mitra Taj
  • Boats bashed into a quiet harbor in Southern California, a remote island in Japan was battered by 4-foot waves and two women were swept to their deaths on a beach in Peru — some 6,000 miles from an undersea volcanic eruption so powerful the tsunami it set off churned ocean waters halfway across the globe.
  • Reports that emerged Sunday described a land rendered ghastly gray by volcanic debris, its waters poisoned by the ash sent tens of thousands of feet skyward when the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted Saturday evening.
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Gilas Pilipinas guard Jordan Heading makes it rain from deep for Taichung

  • Heading made news across the region last year when the 25-year-old guard averaged 6.5 points and 1.5 assists with the Philippines men's national basketball team during the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers held in Clark, Pampanga in June, which included a two-game 81-78 and 82-77 sweep against historic rivals South Korea.
  • The Filipino-Australian sharpshooter posted 32 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, including eight from beyond the arc to break the record of seven concurrently held by Taipei-based TaiwanBeer HeroBears captain Chiang Yu-an (蔣淯安), Kaohsiung Aquas guard Allen Yu (于煥亞), and Tainan TSG GhostHawks import player Jordan Chatman.
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Polish envoy’s bid for top EU post sparks Brussels backlash

By Lili Bayer, Zosia Wanat
  • Some Commission officials and EU diplomats say the appointment of Andrzej Sadoś as the top civil servant at the department, known as DG NEAR, would send the wrong message to countries in the Western Balkans that aspire to join the Union and have been told by Brussels to adopt high democratic standards.
  • Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to give Hungary the enlargement commissioner post has already made many officials uncomfortable, both due to the Hungarian government’s democratic backsliding and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s involvement in the internal politics of Western Balkan countries.
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Netanyahu negotiating plea deal

By ooshin@thehill.com (Olafimihan Oshin)
  • Former Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu MORE is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, which could include a provision banning him from politics, according to reports.
  • The source added a number of elements remain unresolved, such as the inclusion of the charge of “moral turpitude,” which under Israel law would ban Netanyahu from politics for seven years.
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Advocates for safe consumption sites ask for urgent appeal hearing on Alberta ID policy

By Negin Nia
  • A lawyer for groups that advocate for drug users has written to the Alberta Court of Appeal, seeking an emergency hearing to stop a provincial policy requiring people to identify themselves before they use a safe consumption site.
  • The policy, which requires users to show their personal health number, is due to go into place Jan. 31, but lawyer Avnish Nanda was not able to persuade a judge to grant an injunction to halt its implementation.
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China GDP: economy beats 2021 growth target but slowdown underlined in fourth quarter

By Orange Wang,Andrew Mullen
China’s economy grew by 4 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, slowing from the 4.9 per cent growth in the previous three months, bringing the full-year growth rate to 8.1 per cent in 2021.China set an economic growth target of “above 6 per cent” last year after growth hit a revised 2.2 per cent year in 2020 under pressure from the coronavirus.The recovery has been losing steam since the second half of 2021 after China’s economy grew by 18.3 per cent in the first quarter.For the full […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Chinese cities on high Covid-19 alert as peak Chinese New Year travel season starts

  • Several Chinese cities went on high Covid-19 alert as the Chinese New Year holiday travel season started on Monday (Jan 17), requiring travellers to report their trips days before their arrival, as the Omicron variant reached more areas including Beijing .
  • Cities such as Luoyang in the central China and Jieyang in the south said on Sunday that travellers need to report to communities, employers or hotels their trips three days ahead of arrival.
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China’s population increases less than half a million in 2021, births plunge again as crisis deepens

By Orange Wang
Mainland China’s population increased by less than half a million last year, and the number of births also dropped for the fifth consecutive year in 2021, data released on Monday showed.China’s overall population increased by about 480,000 people – to 1.4126 billion in 2021, from 1.412 billion a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed.Mothers in China gave birth to 10.62 million babies last year, down from 12 million in 2020, the NBS confirmed.Earlier this month, Henan […]Read more >Similar articles >
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COVID-19: Relief, anxiety as kids head back to school this week

By Susan Schwartz, Montreal Gazette
  • As thousands of Quebec preschool, elementary and high school students return to class this week after several days of remote learning, the response from parents, teachers and experts has been a mix of relief and anxiety.
  • Rather, hospital admissions currently serve as a surrogate marker reflecting what is going on in the community, said Dr. Earl Rubin, division director for pediatric infectious disease at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre.
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Tonga tsunami: Australia, New Zealand send flights to see damage from volcanic eruption

By Reuters
Australia and New Zealand dispatched surveillance flights on Monday to assess the damage in Tonga, isolated from the rest of the world due to the eruption of an underwater volcano that triggered a tsunami and blanketed the Pacific island with ash.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged to provide support for Tonga as early as possible but said the volcano ash had hampered relief efforts.“There’s been a lot of challenges there with the ash cloud and the disruption to communications and […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Two drown in Peru as abnormally big waves from Tonga volcano hit coast

By Reuters
  • The underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, prompting tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and causing huge waves on several South Pacific islands, where images on social media showed waves crashing against homes on the shores.
  • Two people have drowned off a beach in northern Peru, local authorities say, after unusually high waves were recorded in several coastal areas following Saturday’s eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga.
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Canadiens Notebook: Cayden Primeau will get another chance with Habs

By Stu Cowan, Montreal Gazette
  • “From Day 1, I’ve been preaching control what you can control and that stays true now,” Primeau, who was selected by the Canadiens in the seventh round (199th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, said after practice Sunday.
  • Christian Dvorak, who spent his first five NHL seasons in Arizona, will play his first game against the Coyotes on Monday since being traded to the Canadiens last September.
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Korea Hits Deepest Winter

The morning temperature dipped as low as -16 degrees Celsius on Monday as a cold air mass flowed in from the north. In Seoul the mercury fell to -9 degrees in the morning. The Korea Meteorological Administration said the arctic snap is expected to last until the latter half of this week with morning […]Read more >Similar articles >
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‘Deep trouble’: Cathay Pacific descends further as punitive pandemic worsens

By Helen Davidson in Taipei
  • On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, described the airline as “a very big noncompliance case” and accused it of sending some crew back to the territory on empty cargo flights to access shorter quarantine periods.
  • A s Omicron spread to at least 50 people in Hong Kong last week the government looked to one place in particular for blame – the city’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific.
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Tonga calls for ‘immediate aid’ after volcanic eruption, tsunami

  • Tonga is calling for “immediate aid”, with an urgent need for fresh water and food, as it assesses the damage caused by Saturday’s eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai.
  • The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre said the volcano erupted at 22:10 GMT on Sunday, with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre saying it had detected large waves in the area: “This might be from another explosion of Tonga volcano.
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Police looking into report of suspected animal abuse attempt using sausage-skewered fishhooks

By Yonhap
  • This undated composite photo captured from social media shows a batch of fishhooks skewered with mini sausages discovered at a park popular among dog owners in Incheon, west of Seoul.
  • INCHEON -- Police said Monday they were looking into a report of a suspected animal abuse attempt using sausage-skewered fishhooks at a park in Incheon popular among dog owners.
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‘Poor display’: Captain slams ugly Australian exit

  • England captain Joe Root didn’t hold back on the ugly final hour dismissals of his team in yet another “poor display” of batting in the fifth and final Ashes Test that left him feeling “hurt”.
  • Ian Chappell, Brendon McCullum and Ricky Ponting were among the former Test captains to question whether Root was cut out for leadership during the Ashes, pointing to poor communication with his bowling unit and underwhelming results from England’s batting order under his captaincy.
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Toronto Raptors will have to wait on that Kyle Lowry reunion

By Mike Ganter
  • Unfortunately for Lowry and the Raptors fanbase that remains as staunchly behind the point guard as if he still played for the team, it’s looking very likely that the ban on fans in the stands in Toronto will not be lifted by that Feb. 1 date meaning Lowry’s first return to Toronto will come in an almost empty Scotiabank Arena.
  • Then just when it looked like a matchup everyone could at least anticipate and get up for with Kyle Lowry set to face the team he won his NBA championship with comes word out of Miami that Lowry is out for Monday night for personal reasons.
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NSW Covid-19 update: Hazzard urges people to ‘give a damn about someone other than yourself’ – video

NSW health ministerBrad Hazzardhas taken aim at the unvaccinated. ‘Can I just say to those people who have chosen not to get vaccinated, it’s time to give a damn about someone other than yourself', Hazzard said. ‘Give a damn about your community, your family and most particularly the health staff acrossNew South Waleswho you expect to be looking after you ifand when you end up in our hospital system’. There were 29,504 new Covid-19 cases recorded from rapid antigen tests and PCR tests . However, 11,858 positive rapid antigen tests were from the previous seven-day reporting period, and were not necessarily detected in the past 24 hours. There were also 17 deaths, only one of which had received their booster shot

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Legault plans to table anti-vax tax bill next month

By Susan Schwartz, Montreal Gazette
  • When Lepage asked Legault if his goal is to do the same thing, the premier responded that his goal is to give unvaccinated Quebecers an incentive to get vaccinated.
  • Premier François Legault said Sunday night that his Coalition Avenir Québec government plans to table a bill in the National Assembly in early February outlining his plan to tax Quebecers who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
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Asian American woman pushed onto New York subway tracks ‘never saw’ her attacker, witness says

  • In another, less virus-conscious year, Go's zest for travel might have taken her away from New York over a three-day holiday weekend, said Olivia Henderson, her next-door neighbour in a West 72nd Street building.
  • Reserved but friendly, Go renewed her lease during the pandemic rather than leave, Henderson said, committed to the city she had considered home after completing a masters in business administration at New York University.
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ScoMo’s new big name recruit

  • Mr Constance – who spent 19 years in the state Parliament as the member for Bega – said improving the nation’s trauma response was an important factor in his decision to step up to federal politics.
  • “I warmly welcome Andrew Constance’s decision to seek endorsement to be part of our federal Liberal team as our Liberal candidate for Gilmore,” Mr Morrison said at the time.
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Weekly Horoscope: January 17 – 23

By Randon Rosenbohm
  • Just before the sun changes signs, the climax of Capricorn season comes with a full moon in Cancer on Monday, January 17, at 6:48 PM.
  • This full moon faces off with power planet Pluto, so the things that come to fruition can bring an awareness of your shadow.
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New Zealand banks reject home loans over spending on Christmas gifts and pets as tighter rules hit

By Eva Corlett in Wellington
  • Banks in New Zealand are rejecting home-loans over minor frivolous spending, including a $187 Kmart Christmas shop and a daily drink bought at a corner store, and money spent on pets or petrol, pushing the government to investigate whether banks are overreacting to new finance rules designed to protect vulnerable borrowers from predatory lenders.
  • The chief executive of Financial Advice NZ, Katrina Shanks, said the new rules required banks and other lenders to go through an individual’s spending habits with a fine-tooth comb.
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Novak Djokovic deported for trying to breach Australia’s border rules, PM says

By Daniel Hurst Foreign affairs and defence correspondent
  • The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, says Novak Djokovic was deported because he tried to breach entry rules at the border, even though the immigration minister did not dispute the tennis star’s belief he had a valid medical exemption.
  • In his formal decision, Hawke said he assumed that Djokovic “entered Australia consistently” with Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi) documents, even though the minister noted there was a dispute about this in the earlier court proceedings.
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Kerry Chant warns death toll will rise in NSW after Australia records 30 new COVID-19 deaths

  • NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, speaking to reporters in Sydney on Monday, said: "Given the broader community transmission of COVID, I would like to flag that the number of deaths (is) likely to be high over coming days.
  • Victoria has recorded 22,429 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths as authorities begin handing out millions of rapid antigen tests (RATs) to essential workers and vulnerable people.
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Australia leaves door open for Djokovic to play at next year’s Open

By Reuters
  • The world number one player left Australia late on Sunday after the Federal Court upheld the government’s decision to cancel his visa, capping days of drama over the country’s COVID-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status.
  • SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the door open for Novak Djokovic to compete at next year’s Australian Open despite the tennis superstar facing an automatic three-year ban from entering the country.
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Daily cases fall below 4,000 amid growing omicron woes

By Yonhap
  • South Korea's daily coronavirus cases fell below 4,000 for the first time in a week Monday, but health authorities remained vigilant over a possible resurgence due to the fast spread of the omicron variant amid partially eased antivirus curbs.
  • On Monday, the government decided to lift the vaccine pass program at several kinds of multiuse facilities, including department stores, large discount stores, museums, libraries, cinemas and cram schools across the country.
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The poor die from COVID while the rich get richer, Oxfam warns

  • The wealth of the 10 richest men has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, stoking inequality that contributes to the deaths of at least 21,300 people each day, according to a new report released on Monday from Oxfam International.
  • “We enter 2022 with unprecedented concern,” Oxfam’s Inequality Kills (to add link) report warns, arguing that the current global state of extreme inequality is a form of “economic violence” against the world’s poorest people and nations.
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49ers hold off late push to eliminate Cowboys

By Reuters
  • Elijah Mitchell ran for 96 yards and a touchdown while the San Francisco 49ers’ defense overcame the loss of star end Nick Bosa to hold the Dallas Cowboys in check during a 23-17 win Sunday in the NFC wild-card round in Arlington, Texas.
  • Samuel’s 26-yard scoring run, one play after Dak Prescott was intercepted by K’Waun Williams, gave San Francisco a 23-7 advantage with 5:50 left in the third quarter.
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While Hong Kong gets the chills and they’re multiplying, the Musicians Union is staying alive

By Neil Newman
P is a professional vocalist in Hong Kong, and a single mother raising her two daughters in the most expensive city in the world.Like all musicians, P, who asked that her real name not be used, was hit hard at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. With the closure of venues and a complete loss of income, she could no longer send her girls to school, or afford the rent on her flat, and had to ask friends to let her sleep on the sofa.Babe Tree, a songwriter, performance artist and close […]Read more >Similar articles >