India has classified a new variant of the coronavirus first identified in Europe as a “variant of concern”, but it’s too early to tell whether it poses a significant threat. India’s health ministry says studies showed that the so-called Delta plus variant – also known as AY.1 – spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy, a potent intravenous infusion of antibodies to neutralize the virus.
The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday seized 36 Iranian-linked news website domains, accusing them of spreading disinformation, amid continued tensions between Tehran and Washington. The Justice Department said 33 of the seized websites, owned by a U.S.-based company, were used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU), which it said was among components of the Iranian government targeting the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations.
The Vatican has written to the Italian government warning that a draft anti-homophobia law could violate the 92-year-old Lateran Treaty governing relations between Rome and the Catholic Church, and restrict religious freedom in Italy. The letter said it would threaten the Church’s “freedom of thought” and expressed fears that religious schools would be forced to participate in a new national day against homophobia.
Hong Kong’s sole remaining pro-democracy newspaper will publish its last edition Thursday, forced to shut down after five editors and executives were arrested and millions of dollars in its assets were frozen as part of China’s increasing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city. Apple Daily was founded by tycoon Jimmy Lai in 1995 — just two years before Britain handed Hong Kong back to China
A Russian military ship fired warning shots at a British Royal Navy destroyer after it entered Russian waters in the Black Sea, and a Russian jet dropped bombs in its path as a warning, Interfax cited Russia’s defense ministry as saying on Wednesday. The HMS Defender left Russian waters soon after the incident, having ventured as much as 3 kilometers (2 miles) inside.