WHO meeting urges increased virus sequencing to combat variants

by Robin MILLARD Agence France Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization’s emergency committee called Friday for globally-ramped up coronavirus sequencing studies in order to combat troubling new variants stalking the globe. The meeting was dragged forward by two weeks for urgent talks on the emerging, seemingly more contagious strains of the virus, as the death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic topped two million, according to an AFP count. The emergency committee came […]

More than 2 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide as cases top 93.5 million — Johns Hopkins data

  (Eagle News) — The total number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide surpassed two million as global confirmed cases reached 93.5 million, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. As of 3 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, Philippine Standard Time, the total confirmed coronavirus deaths around the world have reached 2,003,625 while COVID-19 cases reached 93,580,828. This comes amid rising number of COVID-19 virus mutations that are more infectious than previous strains, prompting the World Health […]

Toyota to pay $180 mln to settle US emissions violations: govt

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Toyota will pay $180 million to settle charges it failed to comply with rules mandating that auto companies report problems with vehicle emissions to authorities, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday. “Toyota pays the price for its misconduct with a $180 million civil penalty and agreement to injunctive relief to ensure that its violations will not be repeated,” Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark said in a […]

French state in dock over climate change inaction

by Amélie BOTTOLLIER-DEPOIS Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Paris court began hearing Thursday a complaint brought by NGOs backed by two million citizens accusing the French state of failing to act to halt climate change, the first such case in the country. The campaign groups want the court to hold the state responsible for ecological damage and say victory would mark a symbolic step in the fight to persuade governments to do more. If […]

Climate change worsens child malnutrition: study

by Patrick GALEY Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Climate change may contribute more to greater child malnutrition and poor diet than traditional causes such as poverty and poor sanitation, according to research published on Thursday. Although childhood malnutrition has decreased globally over the past several decades, undernourishment has increased since 2015, in part due to warming temperatures and extreme weather. The United Nations says 144 million children under five were affected by stunting in […]

Teachers win P94,000 jackpot prize in “Sana All” round of NET25 Happy Time’s “Bawal Peyk News”

  (Eagle News) — A group of public school teachers got the P94,000 jackpot prize in the “Sana All” jackpot round of the “Bawal Peyk News” game segment NET25 noontime show “Happy Time” on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Four teachers of New Era Elementary School in Quezon City joined the “Bawal Peyk News” segment of “Happy Time” hosted by Anjo Yllana, Janno Gibbs and Kitkat.   The teachers were also asked about the challenges of handling […]

Social media giants mishandled Trump: Wikipedia founder

  by Callum PATON Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Twitter and Facebook repeatedly mishandled Donald Trump as he pushed baseless claims, including his assertion that US presidential election he lost was rigged, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told AFP. The two social media giants indefinitely suspended Trump after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, an attack on the seat of democracy that on Wednesday led to Trump’s second impeachment. Wales […]

Forest loss ‘hotspots’ bigger than Germany: WWF

by Patrick GALEY Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — More than 43 million hectares of forest — an area bigger than Germany — have been lost in a little over a decade in just a handful of deforestation hotspots, conservation organisation WWF said Wednesday. Swathes of forest continue to be flattened each year — mainly due to industrial-scale agriculture — as biodiversity-rich areas are cleared to create space for livestock and crops. Analysis by WWF […]

Mexico City plastic ban poses challenge for virus-hit firms

by Natalia Cano Agence France-Presse MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — Mexico’s ban on single-use plastic in its capital, one of the world’s most populous metropolises, has delighted environmentalists but dismayed some businesses struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Home to around nine million people, Mexico City generates about 13,000 tons of solid waste every day. The new rules, which are being phased in, ban the use of disposable plastic items such as cutlery, plates, […]

Washing your clothes can create Arctic microplastic pollution

by Kelly Macnamara Agence France-Presse Households in Europe and North America are flooding the oceans with plastic pollution simply by washing their clothes, scientists said Tuesday after research found the majority of microplastics in Arctic seawater were polyester fibres. Plastic particles have infiltrated even the most remote and seemingly-pristine regions of the planet. These tiny fragments have been discovered inside fish in the deepest recesses of the ocean — the Mariana Trench — peppering Arctic […]

New virus mutation raises vaccine questions

by Paul RICARD PARIS, France (AFP) — As the British coronavirus variant occupies countries’ pandemic plans due to its increased transmissibility, other mutations to the Sars-CoV-2 are provoking concern among scientists who are scrambling to work out if they will still respond to vaccines. In particular, one mutation, known as E484K, detected initially in South Africa and on subsequent variants in Brazil and Japan, has raised alarm among researchers. Ravi Gupta, professor of microbiology at […]

British virus variant now in 50 countries, while South African strain found in 20 countries: WHO

by Robin MILLARD Agence France Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The coronavirus mutation first found in Britain has now spread to 50 territories, according to the World Health Organization, while a similar South African-identified strain has now been found in 20. The UN body also noted a third new coronavirus “variant of concern” found in Japan may impact upon immune response and needs further investigation. “The more the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads, the more opportunities it […]