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Your Monday Briefing: Omicron Evades Many Vaccines

Good morning. We’re overlaying the most recent Omicron information, the Hong Kong elections and a Occasions investigation into civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes.

A rising physique of preliminary analysis suggests most Covid vaccines supply almost no defense towards an infection from the highly contagious Omicron variant. The one vaccines that seem like efficient towards infections are these made by Pfizer and Moderna, bolstered by a booster, which aren’t broadly accessible all over the world.

Different vaccines — together with these from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and vaccines manufactured in China and Russia — do little to nothing to cease the unfold of Omicron, early analysis exhibits. As a result of most nations have constructed their inoculation packages round these vaccines, the hole might have a profound influence on the course of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, most vaccines used worldwide do appear to supply significant protection towards extreme sickness. And early Omicron information suggests South Africa’s hospitalizations are significantly lower on this wave.

U.S.: A fourth wave has arrived, simply days earlier than Christmas. Greater than 125,000 Individuals are testing positive on daily basis, and hospitalizations have elevated almost 20 p.c in two weeks. Just one in six Individuals has acquired a booster shot.

Listed here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In different developments:

  • Some Southeast Asian tourism spots have reopened, however few foreigners are making the journey.

  • Two legal professionals and a civil rights activist are on trial in Iran after attempting to sue the nation’s leaders over their disastrous dealing with of the pandemic.

  • The U.Ok. is contemplating a lockdown as instances skyrocket.

Hong Kong held legislative elections this weekend, the primary since Beijing imposed a drastic “patriots solely” overhaul of the political system, leaving many opposition leaders in jail or in exile.

Beneath the overhaul, solely 20 seats have been immediately elected by residents; the remaining have been chosen by trade teams or Beijing loyalists. The institution’s near-total management of the legislature is now assured, reports my colleague Austin Ramzy.

Evaluation: Though the government has effectively determined the outcome of the elections, it’s pressuring voters and opposition events to take part with the intention to lend the vote legitimacy.

Profile: Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief government, is the territory’s most unpopular chief ever, polls present. However Lam seems reinvigorated and is poised to hunt a second time period — if Beijing permits it.

A five-year Occasions investigation discovered that the American air wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been tormented by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and infrequently imprecise focusing on, 1000’s of civilian deaths — with scant accountability.

The navy’s personal confidential assessments, obtained by The Occasions, doc greater than 1,300 experiences of civilian casualties since 2014, a lot of them youngsters. The findings are a pointy distinction to the American authorities’s picture of conflict waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.

The paperwork present, too, that regardless of the Pentagon’s extremely codified system for inspecting civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given technique to opacity and impunity.

Particulars: Listed here are key takeaways from the primary a part of the investigation. The second installment shall be revealed within the coming days.

Data: The Occasions obtained the information via Freedom of Info requests and lawsuits filed towards the Protection Division and the U.S. Central Command. Click here to access the full trove.


Rakugo, certainly one of Japan’s oldest and raunchiest comedic arts, has lengthy been dominated by males. However a woman artist, Niyo Katsura, is now successful approval for her uncanny skill to painting a variety of drunks and fools — female and male alike.

The New York Occasions Faces Quiz gives an opportunity to see how effectively you already know among the defining personalities of 2021. Now we have chosen 52. Once we present you every face, it’s good to inform us the title. (And sure, we’re lenient on spelling.)

Play it here, and see how effectively you do in contrast with different Occasions readers.

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