An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by the biotech company Novavax is 89.3 percent effective at preventing Covid-19, the company announced Thursday. Results from Novavax’s Phase 3 trial in the United Kingdom demonstrated the vaccine candidate’s efficacy and showed that it protected against the U.K. variant of the virus. Results from another trial, in South Africa, showed that it was also effective against the variant that emerged there, although efficacy was lower.
China has warned that attempts by Taiwan to seek independence “means war”. The warning comes days after China stepped up its military activities and flew warplanes near the island. It also comes after new US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to Taiwan, and set out his stance in Asia. China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state.
Just under three million people in Hong Kong will be able to apply to live, study and work in the UK when a new visa route opens on Sunday. The government offered a pathway to British citizenship for those holding British National (Overseas) status and their eligible family members last summer. It followed the imposition of a controversial new security law in Hong Kong by China.
A World Health Organization team visited a hospital on Friday where China says the first COVID-19 patients were treated more than a year ago as part of the experts’ long-awaited fact-finding mission on the origins of the coronavirus. The WHO team members and Chinese officials earlier had their first in-person meetings at a hotel ahead of field visits in and around the central city of Wuhan in the coming days.
A small painting by Sandro Botticelli has been sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $92.2m, an auction record for the Renaissance master. The work, Young Man Holding a Roundel, from about 1475, depicts a nobleman holding a round painting of a saint. It is one of just three portraits in private hands by the artist best known for The Birth of Venus and Primavera.
New anti-government protests broke out in Polish cities Wednesday, shortly after the country’s top court confirmed its highly divisive ruling that will further tighten the predominantly Catholic nation’s strict anti-abortion law. Opposition parties strongly criticized the move by the Constitutional Tribunal, following which the ruling will come into effect once it’s printed — later Wednesday or early Thursday — in the official government gazette.
The US Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued a national terrorism bulletin warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by anti-government sentiment after Joe Biden’s election. The bulletin suggests the riot by a mob of Donald Trump supporters at the US Capitol on 6 January may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.
A senior EU official has suggested coronavirus vaccines produced in the UK should be shared with the bloc, as its supply comes under pressure. The row blew up after AstraZeneca announced it would have to cut the amount of jabs delivered before the end of March from 80 million to 31 million. But the UK government is insisting that Britain’s vaccine orders should not be affected by the EU’s troubles.
Singapore has detained a 16-year-old for intending to attack two mosques, plans authorities said were inspired by the killing of Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019. The boy, an unnamed Christian of Indian ethnicity, had purchased a tactical vest online and had intended to also buy a machete at the time of his arrest in December.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of four men accused of the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. Mr Pearl, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, was kidnapped and beheaded while working on a story about extremist groups in Pakistan. Meanwhile, US officials have indicated they will try and launch legal proceedings against the man accused of his murder, Omar Saeed Sheikh, in the US.