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New COVID-19 variant defeats plasma treatment, may reduce vaccine efficacy

New COVID-19 variant defeats plasma treatment, may reduce vaccine efficacy

JOHANNESBURG: The new COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa can evade the antibodies that attack it in treatments using blood plasma from previously recovered patients, and may reduce the efficacy of the current line of vaccines, scientists said on Wednesday (Jan 20).Researchers are racing to establish whether the vaccines currently being rolled out across the globe are effective against the so-called 501Y.V2 variant, identified by South African genomics experts late last year in Nelson Mandela Bay."This lineage exhibits complete escape from three classes of therapeutically relevant...

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MediaTek taps TSMC 6-nanometer tech for new flagship 5G phone chips

MediaTek taps TSMC 6-nanometer tech for new flagship 5G phone chips

REUTERS: MediaTek Inc on Wednesday said it would use Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co's 6-nanometer chipmaking technology for its newest chips aimed at premium 5G smartphones.Taiwan's MediaTek appears to be one of the first high-volume customers for the technology and is among a handful of companies with modem technology to connect phones to mobile data networks, competing against Qualcomm Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. The new chips announced Wednesday, called Dimensity 1100 and 1200, build on MediaTek's efforts to go after higher-priced handsets where Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips...

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Vietnam gives Foxconn unit licence for US$270 million plant to produce laptops, tablets

Vietnam gives Foxconn unit licence for US$270 million plant to produce laptops, tablets

HANOI: Vietnam on Monday awarded a licence to a unit of Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Co Ltd to build a US$270 million plant to produce laptops and tablets, the Vietnamese government said.The plant, to be developed by Fukang Technology, will be located in the northern province of Bac Giang and will annually produce eight million units, the government said in a statement on its website.(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Ed Davies)

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Torrential rains hamper hunt for Indonesia quake survivors as death toll surpasses 80

Torrential rains hamper hunt for Indonesia quake survivors as death toll surpasses 80

MAMUJU, Indonesia: Torrential monsoon rains hampered the hunt on Sunday (Jan 17) for anyone still buried alive under buildings flattened by a powerful earthquake on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, after the huge tremor killed at least 81 and left thousands homeless.Excavators and cranes were deployed across the devastated seaside city of Mamuju, where buildings were reduced to a tangled mass of twisted metal and chunks of concrete, including a hospital and the regional governor's office.It was unclear how many people - dead or alive - could still be under the mountains of debris in the...

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Exclusive: Canada's Couche-Tard drops US$20 billion Carrefour takeover plan - source

Exclusive: Canada's Couche-Tard drops US$20 billion Carrefour takeover plan - source

LONDON: Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard has dropped its 16.2 billion euro (US$19.6 billion) bid to acquire European retailer Carrefour SA after the takeover plan ran into stiff opposition from the French government, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.The decision to end merger talks came after a meeting on Friday between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Couche-Tard's founder and chairman, Alain Bouchard, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential.Couche-Tard and Carrefour declined to comment.Earlier on Friday, France...

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WhatsApp delays launch of update business features after privacy backlash

WhatsApp delays launch of update business features after privacy backlash

REUTERS: WhatsApp is delaying an update aimed at increasing business transactions on the platform after a storm of concern from users who feared that the messaging platform was watering down its privacy policy in the process.WhatsApp users received a notification this month that it was preparing a new privacy policy and terms, and it reserved the right to share some user data with the Facebook app.That sparked global outcries and a rush of new users to competitor private messaging apps including Telegram and Signal.WhatsApp on Friday (Jan 15) said it would delay the new policy launch to May...

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UK looking at ways to protect itself against Brazilian COVID-19 variant, says PM Johnson

UK looking at ways to protect itself against Brazilian COVID-19 variant, says PM Johnson

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (Jan 13) the government was looking at ways to stop a variant of the novel coronavirus found in Brazil from entering Britain.Japan's health ministry said on Sunday it had detected a new strain of COVID-19 in four travellers from Brazil's Amazonas state which featured 12 mutations, including one also found in highly infections variants discovered in Britain and South Africa."We are concerned about the new Brazilian variant ... and we're taking steps (to protect the country) ... in respect of the Brazilian variant," Johnson told a...

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Exclusive: US tells European companies they face sanctions risk on Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Exclusive: US tells European companies they face sanctions risk on Nord Stream 2 pipeline

WASHINGTON: The U.S. State Department this month told European companies which it suspects are helping to build Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that they face the risk of sanctions as the outgoing Trump administration prepares a final round of punitive measures against the project, two sources said on Tuesday."We are trying to inform companies of the risk and urge them to pull out before it's too late," a U.S. government source said on condition of anonymity.The U.S. source said the State Department is expected to issue a report by Thursday or Friday on companies it believes are helping...

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Jan 13
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India's quick nod to homegrown COVID-19 vaccine seeds doubt

India's quick nod to homegrown COVID-19 vaccine seeds doubt

NEW DELHI: As the director of a large hospital in the Indian state that has seen most of the country's COVID-19 cases, Dr SP Kalantri had been waiting for the day a vaccine would be approved and bring protection not only to his community but also himself.But now he has his doubts about getting the shots after India took a regulatory shortcut to approve a vaccine by Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech before late clinical trials showed it was effective in preventing illness from coronavirus infections.“I’d rather wait and watch,” said Kalantri, who runs a hospital in Maharashtra state's Wardha...

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Jan 12
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Intel graphics chip will tap new version of TSMC 7-nanometer process: sources

Intel graphics chip will tap new version of TSMC 7-nanometer process: sources

REUTERS: Intel Corp plans to tap Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to make a second generation discrete graphics chip for personal computers that it hopes will help it combat the rise of Nvidia Corp, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.The chip, known as "DG2", will be made on a new chipmaking process at TSMC that has not yet been formally named but is an enhanced version of its 7-nanometer process, the two people familiar the matter said.Intel, long the world leader in chip-making technology, has lost its manufacturing edge in recent years and is now debating whether to...

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Jan 12
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Family treated woman as slave, knocked out teeth, poured hot water and chained her to toilet bowl

Family treated woman as slave, knocked out teeth, poured hot water and chained her to toilet bowl

SINGAPORE: A woman who initially sought refuge with a family after running away from home became their slave after angering one of the women by engaging in a sex act with her husband.Four of the family members pleaded guilty on Thursday (Jan 7) to various crimes including assaulting the 30-year-old woman and lying to the police to protect the family.Muhammad Iskandar Ismail, 32, received two months and four weeks' jail for lying to the police and voluntarily causing hurt. His brother Muhammad Iski Ismail, 29, was jailed for eight months for lying to the police and asking his brother to lie...

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Lydia Lam
Jan 7
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US, Canada, Britain, Australia condemn Hong Kong arrests of activists

US, Canada, Britain, Australia condemn Hong Kong arrests of activists

MELBOURNE: Foreign ministers from the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia condemned last week's in Hong Kong in a joint statement on Sunday (Jan 10), calling on China to respect the freedom of the people on the island.Hong Kong police made the arrests on Wednesday in dawn raids, the biggest crackdown since China imposed a security law in 2020, which opponents say is aimed at quashing dissent in the former British colony."It is clear that the National Security Law is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing political views," the foreign ministers said in the joint statement...

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Jan 10
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Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian cleric linked to deadly Bali bombings, freed from prison

Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian cleric linked to deadly Bali bombings, freed from prison

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is linked to the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, was released from prison on Friday (Jan 8).Bashir, 82, was jailed in 2011 for his involvement in militant training camps in Indonesia’s westernmost province Aceh. His 15-year sentence was cut short due to regular sentence reductions tied to good behaviour and his deteriorating health.The cleric is considered the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an extremist network linked to Al-Qaeda which was among others accused of orchestrating the 2002 Bali bombings killing more than 200...

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Kiki Siregar
Jan 8
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China goes online to mock 'beautiful sight' of US Capitol chaos

China goes online to mock 'beautiful sight' of US Capitol chaos

BEIJING: China's Internet erupted in mirth at America's troubled democracy after supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the US Capitol, comparing the chaos to the Hong Kong anti-government protests of 2019.On Thursday (Jan 7) morning, state media tabloid Global Times tweeted side-by-side photo comparisons of Hong Kong protesters occupying the city's Legislative Council Complex in July 2019 with Wednesday's Washington riots.The latter saw hardcore Trump fans invade the US Capitol to protest the election defeat, taking selfies, scuffling with security and ransacking parts of the...

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Jan 7
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Brazil is 'broke', says President Bolsonaro

Brazil is 'broke', says President Bolsonaro

SAO PAULO: With state subsidies to fight poverty now ended, Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday said his country is "broke" and he is unable to do anything about it, attributing the crisis to "the press-fueled" COVID-19.The subsidies which have kept millions of Brazilians from destitution ended as the pandemic, which has killed almost 200,000 people in the country, only worsens."Brazil is broke, boss, I cannot do anything," the former army officer said, responding to one of the supporters who greeted him in front of his official residence in the capital Brasilia."I wanted...

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Jan 6
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China to launch carbon emissions trading scheme next month

China to launch carbon emissions trading scheme next month

BEIJING: China's delayed carbon trading system will start operating in February, the environment ministry has said, as the world's biggest polluter takes steps towards decarbonising its economy by 2060.The ministry issued rules on Tuesday allowing provincial governments to set pollution caps for big power businesses for the first time.Firms can buy the right to pollute from others who have a lower carbon footprint, but the programme is expected to drive down overall emissions by making it more costly to do so."This is one of the most exciting developments for the world's largest carbon...

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Taiwan says Chinese jets made record 380 incursions in 2020

Taiwan says Chinese jets made record 380 incursions in 2020

TAIPEI: Chinese jets made a record 380 incursions into Taiwan's defence zone last year, a defence official said on Tuesday (Jan 5), as a military-linked think-tank warned tensions were now at their highest since the mid-1990s.Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the island as its own territory and has vowed to seize it one day, by force if necessary.Beijing's animosity has increased dramatically since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen won election in 2016, as she rejects the idea that the island is part of "one China".But the sabre-rattling reached new...

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Jan 5
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Thailand reports 527 new COVID-19 cases, limits travel

Thailand reports 527 new COVID-19 cases, limits travel

BANGKOK: Thailand reported 527 new coronavirus cases, most of them migrant workers who already were isolated, and the government said it was tightening movements of people around the country.Thailand has been struggling with a sudden virus surge after months of hardly any cases of domestic transmission. Field hospitals were being set up in parts of five provinces with many cases.Large parts of the country, including the capital Bangkok, are under various lockdown restrictions, and the government said it will additionally restrict travel between virus-hit provinces to goods, cargo and...

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Jan 5
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Saudi vows extra cuts as OPEC+ agrees small rise in oil output

Saudi vows extra cuts as OPEC+ agrees small rise in oil output

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia pledged additional, voluntary oil output cuts of one million barrels per day (bpd) in February and March as part of a deal under which most OPEC+ producers will hold production steady in the face of new coronavirus lockdowns.Saudi is going beyond its promised cuts as part of the OPEC+ group of producers to support both its own economy and the oil market, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday."If there is one way to describe what its voluntary cut means for the market, ‘happy hour’ is a pretty fitting term," Rystad Energy analyst Bjornar Tonhaugen...

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‘I felt like Spider-Man’: Migrant worker who rescued boy from ledge of Hougang flat

‘I felt like Spider-Man’: Migrant worker who rescued boy from ledge of Hougang flat

SINGAPORE: “I must save him. I must save him,” was the constant refrain in Das Dipto’s mind when he saw a on Sunday morning (Jan 3) at Hougang Street 22.The 27-year-old landscape maintenance worker had been cleaning the boom lift - known as a spider lift - that he operated daily to prune trees, when a passer-by asked him and his colleague Biswas Jibom for help.Speaking to CNA, Mr Dipto said that when the passer-by pointed to the boy on the ledge, he was instantly reminded of his young nephew back home in Bangladesh.This spurred him to decide quickly that his spider lift would be the best...

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Gaya Chandramohan
Jan 5
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US judge blocks Trump sanctions targeting human rights lawyers, war crimes tribunal

US judge blocks Trump sanctions targeting human rights lawyers, war crimes tribunal

NEW YORK: A US judge on Monday (Jan 4) blocked the Trump administration from sanctioning human rights lawyers for supporting the work of the world's war crimes tribunal, the International Criminal Court.US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan issued a preliminary injunction against the White House from imposing criminal or civil penalties against four law professors under an executive order from President Donald Trump last June.Trump had authorised economic and travel sanctions against employees of the Hague-based ICC and anyone supporting its work, including a probe into...

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Jan 5
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Singapore Police Force can obtain TraceTogether data for criminal investigations: Desmond Tan

Singapore Police Force can obtain TraceTogether data for criminal investigations: Desmond Tan

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) can obtain data for criminal investigations, said the Criminal Procedure Code to obtain any data, and that includes the TraceTogether data, said Mr Tan."The Government is the custodian of the TT (TraceTogether) data submitted by the individuals and stringent measures are put in place to safeguard this personal data," added Mr Tan."Examples of these measures include only allowing authorised officers to access the data, using such data only for authorised purposes and storing the data on a secured data platform."Under the Public Sector (Governance)...

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Matthew Mohan
Jan 4
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Philippines troops, ministers get COVID-19 vaccine before approval

Philippines troops, ministers get COVID-19 vaccine before approval

MANILA: Some Philippine soldiers and Cabinet ministers have already received COVID-19 vaccine injections, officials said on Monday (Dec 28), despite an absence of regulatory approval that the country's health ministry said was vital to ensure safety.Interior minister Eduardo Ano said some Cabinet members have already received COVID-19 vaccines and army chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said some troops have been vaccinated but the number was not large. Neither said what brand of vaccine was administered.The health ministry in a statement said all vaccines must first be evaluated by...

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Dec 28
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Indian army officer accused of planting weapons on Kashmir civilians

Indian army officer accused of planting weapons on Kashmir civilians

SRINAGAR: Indian police on Sunday (Dec 27) accused an army officer and two associates of planting weapons on the bodies of three labourers killed in Kashmir to make it look as though they were militants in a staged gun battle.Their July deaths sparked a furore in the Indian administered side of the Himalayan region that is also claimed by Pakistan.The army had claimed that the three men were killed in a gun battle in the village of Amshipora in south Kashmir and that three weapons were found on them. The bodies were hurriedly buried in a remote border area.The men's families in the remote...

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Dec 28
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