Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall. Most COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out worldwide are for adults, who are at higher risk from the coronavirus. Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older.
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is facing the biggest crisis of his presidency after the heads of the army, navy and air force all quit and the country recorded its highest daily Covid-19 death toll. The unprecedented resignation of the defence chiefs is being seen as a protest at attempts by Mr Bolsonaro to exert undue control over the military. Mr Bolsonaro’s popularity has plummeted over his response to Covid-19.
An alleged Mafia fugitive who had been on the run since 2014 was arrested by police in the Dominican Republic thanks to his hobby as a YouTube chef. Marc Feren Claude Biart, a 53-year-old suspected member of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia organization, arrived in Milan, Italy, on Monday following his arrest on March 24. While the videos never showed the man’s face, investigators say they were able to recognize Biart from his tattoos.
Russia says it has registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine for animals. Clinical trials of Carnivac-Cov started in October and involved dogs, cats, foxes, mink and other animals, the country’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Wednesday. Mass production of the vaccine could start as early as April, the watchdog said. It also claimed the jab would help prevent mutations in animals.
The woman who recorded the shocking video of George Floyd’s death that prompted mass protests for racial justice around the world has told the Derek Chauvin murder trial of her feelings of guilt at being unable to intervene to save his life. Frazier was 17 when she recorded the video as a bystander. Chauvin, 45, who is white, has denied charges of second-and third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
World leaders from countries in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia have called for a World War II-style treaty to “dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism” in order to shore up the response to future pandemics in an open letter published in several newspapers on Tuesday. The proposed treaty would be grounded in the constitution of the WHO and seek to improve pandemic preparedness on an international scale.
China has passed sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral rules which will tighten its control over the city. The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland. The aim is to ensure only “patriotic” figures can run for positions of power.
Japan’s famous cherry blossoms have reached their flowery peak in many places earlier this year than at any time since formal records began nearly 70 years ago, with experts saying the climate crisis is the likely cause. Referred to in Japan as sakura, the blossoms used to reach their peak in April, coinciding with the start of the new school and business year.
Trash piled up on the streets of Myanmar’s main city on Tuesday after activists launched a “garbage strike” to oppose military rule as the toll of pro-democracy protesters killed by the security forces since a Feb. 1 coup rose to more than 500. At least 512 civilians had been killed in nearly two months of protests against the coup, 141 of them on Saturday.
The US is threatening to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on some UK exports as it retaliates over Britain’s new ‘unreasonable’ and ‘discriminatory’ tax on big tech firms. The UK introduced a digital services tax last April in a bid to ensure search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces pay their fair share. Washington believes the tax unfairly targets US firms.