The US Congress has passed a long-awaited $900bn (£660bn) package of coronavirus pandemic aid after months of political wrangling. Senators approved the bill late on Monday, hours after it was passed by the House of Representatives. The aid includes direct payments for many Americans and support for businesses and unemployment programs. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the package into law quickly.
BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said on Monday he was confident a COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by his company would be effective against a variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in Britain. He said on Bild TV that the German company would investigate the mutation in the coming days but that he viewed the matter with “with a degree of soberness”.
The Vatican has urged Catholics to get vaccinated against coronavirus and said it is “morally acceptable” to take vaccines that use cell lines from aborted fetuses. Cells derived from fetuses aborted decades ago have been used by some researchers working on vaccines against Covid-19. The use of such vaccines “does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive”, a note said.
Up to five doctors and health staff working at a high-security Afghan prison holding Taliban inmates were killed on their way to work when a bomb was placed on their car. The assassination with a homemade bomb was the latest in a wave of killings using so-called magnetic or sticky bombs. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing, but the Taliban said they were not involved.
Apple has made advances in its secret self-driving car project and is set to launch production by 2024, according to reports. The iPhone maker has for years been rumored to be working on a self-driving car program known as Project Titan, although the company has never publicly acknowledged it. Now, according to a report by Reuters, Apple has made enough progress in this project to actually aim to build a vehicle for consumers.