The benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson outweigh the risks of side effects according to medicine regulators of Europe. The US FDA has also temporarily paused the usage of J&J vaccine ’out of an abundance of caution’. The decision was taken following six cases of a blood clotting disorder was detected after more than 6.8 million doses of the shot had been administered.
Japan is witnessing a ’fourth’ surge in Covid-19 infections with just 100 days left for the Tokyo Olympics. Authorities have imposed emergency-like curbs in parts of Tokyo and other places. However, the mayor of Tokyo showed optimism and vowed that officials would make sure that the Tokyo Games would be a ’memorable tournament.’ Japan has already barred foreign spectators from attending the games.
The COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca has been permanently banned by Denmark. This has been done due to continued fears of a link between the vaccine and rare cases of blood clots. The decision has been highly difficult to take according to the head of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Brostom. Denmark has claimed that the virus is under control and other jabs are still available in the country.
An extension has been signed into law by Mohammed Abdullahi Mohamed, the President of Somalia, of his mandate and that of his government. The United States of America as well as other countries have threatened the country regarding sanctions and have also warned of further instability to an already fragile country. According to critics, the President’s time in office is soon set to be over.
The European Commission’s vice president, Maros Sefcovic, and the United Kingdom’s Brexit minister, David Frost, will hold talks on April 15 in Brussels to discuss trade rules for Northern Ireland, the European Union has announced. This comes after a month after the EU started legal action against the UK for ’not respecting the conditions of the Brexit deal and ’violation of international law.’
The World Health Organization has urged a ban on the sale of live wild mammals in food markets in order to prevent the emergence of new diseases such as COVID-19. The WHO said that since traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations, prohibiting the sale of live wild mammals could protect the health of both, market workers and customers.
In its Global Risk Assessment report, the US intelligence community said China is militarizing space and will match or exceed US technology in the next few years. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s report, which was released last week, said China People’s Liberation Army is poised to become the US’s greatest space adversary and already has ’counterspaceweapons capabilities.’
US President Biden proposed a summit meeting with Russian President Putin during a call on Tuesday. Biden is said to have stressed the US commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and voiced concern about a Russian military buildup in Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders. Ukraine alleges that Russia has put in place 41,000 troops at its border with eastern Ukraine and 42,000 more in Crimea.
US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate, John Kerry, said China’s President Xi Jinping has not committed to join a virtual summit on climate change, which the US will host on April 22 and 23. Talking to CNN, Kerry, terming China’s participation as ’critical,’ said the world can’t tackle the climate crisis without Beijing’s cooperation. Kerry said ’over 40 heads of state’ will take part.
Facebook accidentally took down the official page of the French town of Bitche, citing alleged offensive language. The small town lies in the region of Moselle. Authorities raised the matter with Facebook, and are awaiting a reply. They have since created a new page named after the town’s postcode, ’Mairie 57230.’ A nearby town of Rohrbach-lès-Bitche has renamed its page to avoid being removed.
Following installation of multi-layered metal fencing by RCMP, blocking access to GraceLife Church facilities in Edmonton, congregants of the church held services in an undisclosed location on 11 April. The closure came after repeated violations of COVID-19 orders. Pastor John MacArthur in California called it ’a first for the western world to have the government lockout believers from church’.
A second person has been diagnosed with blood clots after they received the vaccine by AstraZeneca in Australia. According to authorities, this has not resulted in any increase in cancellations for inoculations as authorities continue working on steadying a bungled immunization campaign. Australia has recently abandoned their goal of vaccinating almost all of its population by the end of the year.
Two weeks after it was freed from the Suez Canal, the giant container ship Ever Given has been impounded by a court in Ismailia. This comes as the Suez Canal Authority pursues the Japanese owners of the 220,000-ton megaship for the cost of the salvage operation and lost transit fees for the week that the canal was blocked. Reports say officials are seeking $900M in compensation.
After at least six months of receiving the second dose, Moderna is claiming that its COVID-19 vaccine is still more than 90% effective. Preliminary data from the Phase III clinical trials indicate that the vaccine was 95% effective against ’severe cases of COVID-19’. Also, Moderna has claimed that the data from variant-specific candidates shows that emerging variants can be addressed as well.
The defense and foreign ministers of Japan and Germany held their first-ever security dialogue on Tuesday with an eye on China. During the talks, they shared their concerns about China’s increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. In the virtual ’two-plus-two’ talks the ministers agreed to step up their cooperation in defense equipment and military technology transfers.
Japan has said that it would dump over 1 million tons of treated radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean from 2023. This comes after the plant’s operator said its storage will be full in 2022. Japan’s decision has angered local fishermen and neighboring countries, including China. The Fukushima Daiichi plant was wrecked during the March 2011 earthquake.
Another blow has been given to hopes of vaccinating the whole world as soon as possible after the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson has been put on a pause by US. The usage of the jab has been put on hold following cases of six women experiencing low platelets as well as blood clots during the days following their vaccination. An investigation has been started regarding the cases.
A major annual intelligence report has warned that Chinese efforts to expand its growing influence constitutes one of the largest threats to the United States. The report also warned that China is capable of cyberattacks which have the potential of temporarily disrupting critical infrastructure in the United States. The Chinese threat is followed by that of Russia, Iran and North Korea.
Three protesters, and a police officer died following clashes between Islamists and the police in Pakistan, hours after authorities arrested the head of an Islamist political party. Supporters of Saad Rizvi, head of the Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan party clashed with the police, and authorities said they were still trying to bring the situation in Lahore under control Tuesday.
Levels of uranium enrichment are set to be boosted by Iran to up to 60% in response to an attack on the Natanz nuclear facility by Israel. This level of uranium enrichment will be just short of weapons grade purity. In response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s lead nuclear scientist, the level of uranium enrichment had been lifted to 20% in January by Iran.
Twelve members of a far-right German group called ’Group S’ went on trial Tuesday. They are accused of being part of or supporting the group that plotted to carry out deadly attacks on Muslims to ’rock and ultimately overturn the state and social order of the Federal Republic of Germany.’ The had hoarded firearms, axes and swords for the planned attacks, but were busted in February 2020.
Taiwan said 25 Chinese warplanes breached its air-defense zone. This came within hours after the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned China that it would be a ’serious mistake’ if Beijing attempts to change the status quo around Taiwan. However, he didn’t say if the US would use its military if China invades Taiwan. In 2020 Chinese jets made 380 incursions into Taiwan’s air-defense zone.