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Friday, January 21, 2022

Your Wednesday briefing: Omicron in Europe

We cover the “tidal wave” of the Omicron option in Europe and the reaction to US-Russian talks in Ukraine.

The World Health Organization has warned of “a new tidal wave from west to east sweeping the region”. The UN agency said more than half of people in Europe could be infected with the micron variant of the coronavirus in the next six to eight weeks.

On the continent, “more than seven million cases of Covid-19 were reported in the first week of 2022, more than doubling in a two-week period,” Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, told a press conference on Tuesday.

The WHO cautioned against treating the latest wave as seasonal influenza as much about the new variant remains unknown, especially regarding the severity of the disease in areas with lower vaccination rates.

Problem areas: The spread of Omicron could be of particular concern in Eastern Europe, where vaccination rates are much lower than in Western Europe. Omicron is just beginning to spread widely in the Balkans.

Vaccine: Despite widespread infection rates, data from Denmark shows how effective vaccines remain. According to Kluge, the hospitalization rate for unvaccinated people was “six times higher than for those who were fully vaccinated the week before Christmas.”

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

After talks with the United States, Russia will meet today with NATO, and on Thursday with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE talks will be attended by Russia and Ukraine, and this will be the first recent meeting between both countries.

During a meeting on Monday in Geneva with US negotiators, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said: “We have no intention of invading Ukraine.” But the Ukrainians were quick to backtrack on that promise, and Ukrainian analysts predicted that Russia would walk out of the week of talks without offering any concessions.

“When Russians say, ‘No, no, no, we don’t want to invade Ukraine,’ they mean, ‘Yes, yes, yes, we want to invade Ukraine,’” said Oksana Syroid, a former vice speaker. parliament.

The Ukrainian foreign minister gave a positive assessment of the meeting, stressing that the talks made it clear that the United States will not negotiate the security guarantees Russia wants until Moscow withdraws its troops from the border with Ukraine.

Last at the border: Russian and Belarusian fighter jets made joint flights near Ukraine, and the Western Military District of Russia announced a live-fire exercise involving 3,000 troops.

Kazakhstan: The President of Kazakhstan has announced that the Russian-led military alliance will start withdrawing its troops from Kazakhstan in two days. But the Russian defense minister left it unclear when the troops would actually return home.

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The UN has asked international donors for $5 billion to fight the humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Five months after the Taliban took power, a severe drought and the toll of decades of war have plunged three-quarters of the country’s population into extreme poverty, according to the UN, which said it was launching its biggest call ever for a single country.

The new appeal will test donors’ willingness to support Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

“A full blown humanitarian disaster is looming,” said UN emergency response coordinator Martin Griffiths. Without international assistance, a million children are at risk of acute famine, and another eight million are at risk of “a march towards hunger and eventually even possible famine,” he continued.

Around the world

What do Catherine de Medici, Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots have in common? All of them used letter blocking to protect their handwritten correspondence from surveillance and spies. The 16th century technique is considered the forerunner of modern encryption. A recent article details what researchers have learned about locked letters in two decades of research.

Lives lived: David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, has died at the age of 65. A well-known journalist in Italy, before entering politics, worked to increase the authority of Parliament.

A growing number of economists argue that technology, with the help of politicians, has largely contributed to the widening income gap in the US.

In economic theory, technology is an almost magical ingredient that simultaneously increases the size of the economic pie and makes countries richer. But about a decade ago, while doing research, Daron Acemoglu, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thought about it.

As Acemoglu delved into economic and demographic data, the effect of technology shift became more and more evident. “They were bigger than I thought,” he said. “It has made me less optimistic about the future.”

Today, he sees too much investment in “middle tech” that replaces workers but doesn’t provide much productivity gains. He cites grocery store self-service kiosks and automated customer service by phone as examples. On the contrary, really significant technologies create new jobs in other places, increasing employment and wages.

Acemoglu also believes that technology development should be steered in a more “human-friendly” direction. He draws inspiration from the development of renewable energy over the past two decades, fueled by government research, manufacturing subsidies and social pressure on corporations to cut carbon emissions.

What to cook

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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