UK govt offers reassurance on AstraZeneca vaccine safety

by Callum PATON LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain moved Thursday to reassure the public over the safety of its coronavirus vaccine campaign, after deciding to offer alternatives to an AstraZeneca jab amid blood clot concerns. Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to keep getting inoculated, a day after Britain’s medicines regulator said the vaccine developed by the British-Swedish firm was linked to 79 cases of rare clotting and 19 deaths. But those under 30 […]

Taiwan blasts ‘self-defeating’ China jet incursions

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Taiwan blasted China’s fighter jet incursions as “self-defeating” on Wednesday as 15 more of Beijing’s planes crossed into the island’s air defence zone. Taipei’s defence ministry said it scrambled aircraft to broadcast warning messages to the latest incursion, which included 12 Chinese fighters. China has ramped up the use of such drills to record levels over the past year as a way to pile pressure on self-ruled Taiwan which it regards […]

US warns China over moves on Philippines, Taiwan

Armed attack on PHL to “trigger our obligation” to defend PHL under US-PHL Mutual Defense Treaty, says US State Dep’t spokesman   WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States on Wednesday warned China against what the Philippines and Taiwan see as increasingly aggressive moves, reminding Beijing of Washington’s obligations to its partners. “An armed attack against the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will […]

79 blood clots, 19 deaths in UK after taking AstraZeneca jab: regulator

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — There have been 79 cases of rare blood clots, resulting in 19 deaths, in people receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Britain, the country’s medicines regulator said Wednesday. “By the 31st of March over 20 million doses having been given, we have had 79 cases reported. Of the 79 cases, 19 people have sadly died,” June Raine, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), told a briefing. […]

Amnesty condemns rich world’s ‘near-monopoly’ on Covid vaccines

by Martine PAUWELS LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Richer countries are failing a “rudimentary” test of global solidarity by hoarding Covid vaccines, Amnesty International said Wednesday as it accused China and others of exploiting the pandemic to undermine human rights. In its annual report, the campaigning rights organisation said the health crisis had exposed “broken” policies and that cooperation was the only way forward. “The pandemic has cast a harsh light on the world’s inability […]

Germany’s Bavaria plans to buy Sputnik vaccine

BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Germany’s Bavaria region has signed a provisional agreement to buy doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine once it is approved by European regulators, state premier Markus Soeder said Wednesday. The southern state has “signed a memorandum of understanding today… for the supply of Sputnik,” Soeder told reporters in Munich. If the Sputnik vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Bavaria is set to receive around 2.5 million doses […]

Iceland volcano unleashes third lava stream

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AFP) — Lava is flowing from a third fissure that opened overnight in Iceland’s nearly three-week-old volcanic eruption near the capital Reykjavik, officials said Wednesday. The spectacular eruption began on March 19 when a first fissure disgorged a steady stream of lava, flowing into the Geldingadalir valley of Mount Fagradalsfjall on Iceland’s southwestern tip. The new split comes two days after two fissures opened around 700 metres (yards) from the initial eruption, creating […]

Australia blames EU supply issues for slow vaccine rollout

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s prime minister on Wednesday blamed restricted vaccine supply from Europe for his country’s halting coronavirus inoculation efforts, as he faced growing public frustration over the sluggish rollout. Scott Morrison said vaccine shortages and “strict export controls” introduced by the European Commission meant Australia received just 700,000 of a contracted 3.8 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. His government, which received global praise for successfully containing Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, has […]

‘It’s the tone’: Palau president explains his China mistrust

  by Jerome TAYLOR Agence France Presse He leads one of the world’s smallest nations, but Surangel Whipps says Palau will not be bullied by anyone into deciding its future — least of all by China. Whipps, 52, became Palau’s president after last year defeating an opponent who favoured closer ties with Beijing. The Pacific nation of around 21,000 people is one of just 15 countries that still recognise Taiwan over China, something Whipps is […]

Iglesia Ni Cristo members donate food to low-income families in Waipahu, Hawaii

  By Alfred Acenas (EBC Hawaii-Pacific) Eagle News Service WAIPAHU, Hawaii (Eagle News) – As the COVID-19 pandemic entered its second year with new cases surging to triple digits daily, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ in Hawaii bravely continue their works of charity though the Church’s Aid to Humanity program. In West Oahu, Church members distributed bags of groceries to the residents of the Waipahu Towers, an eight-storey high-rise […]

US promises ‘much more’ vaccine aid, puts envoy in charge

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States will soon be able to ramp up vaccine assistance abroad and will not seek “favors in return,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday, putting a veteran aid administrator in charge. Blinken said the top US priority was to fight Covid-19 at home but that the goal would be achieved soon, pointing to President Joe Biden’s promise that 90 percent of Americans will be near a […]

Over 100 dead in Indonesia, East Timor floods, dozens missing

by Handrianus Emanuel / with Maria Vieira in Dili LEMBATA, Indonesia (AFP) — Tropical cyclone Seroja pounded Indonesia and East Timor Monday after torrential rains triggered floods and landslides that have killed at least 113 people and left dozens more missing. Packing heavy winds and rain, the storm heaped more misery on the Southeast Asian nations after Sunday’s disaster turned small communities into wastelands of mud, uprooted trees and forced thousands of people into shelters. […]