Mystery Powerball winner
Someone in a small town in Maryland is holding the $731 million winning ticket. ABC’s Andrea Fujii reports.
HS2 protesters to occupy tunnel network under central London park
HS2 Rebellion said it expected protesters to be evicted from Wednesday morning.
French failure to develop home-made Covid-19 vaccine prompts questions
The Pasteur Institute’s announcement that it is to stop further development of one of its potential Covid-19 vaccines, coming on the heels of Sanofi’s announcement that its vaccine will be delayed, has raised questions about medical research in France. The Pasteur Institute, and the US pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme, which had bought the manufacturing license, dropped the vaccine after disappointing trial results. They say say they are pursuing research on other Covid-19 vaccines.The announcement comes after French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced in late December that its Covid-19 jab would not likely be ready before the end of 2021, at best.There is dismay in France at the failure of home-grown efforts to find a vaccine, and questions are being asked about whether it is due to simple bad luck or the result of an inadequate research ecosystem.Slow research funding One could be that the ANR, the government’s research funding agency, seems slow to disburse funds.The Pasteur Institute, named after the man who created the first-ever vaccine in 1885, is a non-profit foundation, a leading research body, with about 2000 researchers. Yet Research Director, Camille Locht, told Le Figaro newspaper, that the Institute had to wait several months before the ANR finally released funding in June for the vaccine’s costly clinical trials.A report last week for the French think tank Terra Nova by Anne Bucher, the European Commission’s Director-General for Health, also concluded that public financial support for vaccine research and development was a problem.Bucher noted that US funding for vaccine research had increased dramatically since 2000, while European investment had fallen.The US government, under ex-president Donald Trump, mobilised ten billion dollars for its Operation Warp Speed initiative to support vaccine research, while the EU put together only three billion dollars.Job cutsSanofi, as a commercial company, has had different problems. It is still developing its vaccine in partnership with the British pharmaceutical company GSK Glaxo, and will begin new trials next month using a higher dose of antigens.But trade unions claim that Sanofi’s lack of progress on a Covid vaccine so far can be linked to a wave of job losses.The company disagrees, insisting that the 400 prospective redundancies announced last week in the Research and Development department do not include jobs in the field of Covid research.However, MP Francois Ruffin of the far-left France Unbowed party is not so sure. Sanofi, and successive governments are responsible, he says, for smashing a technological and healthcare asset.”I want a French vaccine, with French technology,” he told the BFM news channel in mid-January. “Why haven’t we got one?”BiotechnologyEconomist Frédéric Bizard, who specialises in the field of medicine and health, told RFI that France lagged other major countries in the growing field of biotechnology.French research is often based on its strengths in older technologies, he said, “but these are no longer at the forefront… Biotechnology calls the shots now.”One such biotech firm, France’s TheraVectys, is already working with the Pasteur Institute on another potential Covid-19 vaccine.Meanwhile, in a highly controversial move, the French government has asked Sanofi to manufacture doses of the vaccine produced by the rival pharmaceutical company Pfizer with BioNTech.Sanofi says it is looking into the feasability of this idea, but stresses that manufacture of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could interfere with Sanofi’s plans to do further trials on its own potential vaccine.
Exclusive: Sinopharm-led consortium plans $3.3 billion take-private of HK-listed China TCM – sources
A consortium led by state-owned pharma giant Sinopharm plans to take private China Traditional Chinese Medicine Holdings in a deal that would value the firm at at least $3.3 billion, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. Sinopharm, China TCM’s parent and major shareholder, is teaming up with the next two biggest stockholders, Ping An Insurance Group Co of China and executive director Wang Xiaochun, said the people, with the three holding a combined 49.4% stake. It plans to offer at least HK$5.10 ($0.66) per share for China TCM, the people said, a premium of about 33% to the average share price over the past month of HK$3.83.
Ekta Kapoor, Guneet Monga and Tahira Kashyap Launch Cinema Collective Indian Women Rising
Film producers Ekta Kapoor, Guneet Monga, and author-director Tahira Kashyap has joined hands to launch Indian Women Rising (IWR), a cinema collective to support and empower Indian female talent in the film industry.
Good cybersecurity habits still lacking despite greater device use, report says
Research by cybersecurity firm McAfee suggests many people are still not staying secure online despite using their devices more in lockdown.
Top footballers back duty of care laws to combat online abuse on social media
Top footballers subjected to abuse on social media have backed duty of care laws to combat online harms. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and England player Tyrone Mings – who spoke out about the vile racist abuse he has suffered online – met Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss plans that would place a duty of care on tech giants to combat illegal and harmful content online. Mr Mings, Aston Villa and England, revealed how he was regularly called “n*****” on social media and was bombarded with abuse online after one on-field incident was criticised by commentator Gary Nevill. “It was Personal stuff: derogatory terms, offensive language, you’re this and you’re that, you shouldn’t be alive, this is what’s going to happen to your family. It’s far too easy to target people on social media,” he said. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “To hear players talk about the level of abuse they have faced was humbling. Their input today has strengthened my resolve to bring in new laws to ensure there is much greater accountability from the social media platforms for dealing with such problems. “As we shape the “Future of Football” and look towards our football governance review, we must tackle issues around discrimination and lack of equality of opportunity head on. I am grateful to this group of players for sharing their experiences and expertise to help the Government’s work.” Mr Henderson said: “I am personally really pleased to see the Government and DCMS leading to make change with the Online Harms Bill. Just like the leadership diversity code it’s the start of a journey of change, which is welcomed.” Mr Mings said: “I was pleased that the Secretary of State wanted to engage with, and listen to, the thoughts of us as players and ex players. Hopefully this adds context when he attempts to deliver change on behalf of us.”
Goldman Sachs boss gets $10m pay cut for 1MDB scandal
David Solomon is being punished for the bank’s involvement in the fraudulent Malaysian investment fund.
Four-fifths of UK people think climate change is a global emergency – survey
A survey across 50 countries reveals widespread support for urgent action ranging from conserving forests to increasing solar and wind power.
Elliot Page: Juno actor to divorce Emma Portner
The Oscar-nominated actor and his choreographer wife describe as “difficult” their decision to split.
Global coronavirus cases hit 100 million on same day UK reaches 100,000 deaths
The number of coronavirus cases recorded around the world has passed 100 million, on the same day the UK reached the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths. The country with the most cases is the US, with more than 25 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. India has recorded more than 10 million cases and Brazil’s tally is over 8.8 million.
JEE Mains 2021: Online correction window opens at jeemain.nta.nic.in, to remain active till 30 January
Candidates will be allowed to make changes in their name, parents’ names, educational qualification, photographs and address
Covid vaccine ‘sceptic’ pharmacist faces jail for deliberately spoiling hundreds of doses
Steven Brandenburg told investigators he was ‘sceptical’ of vaccines
China: Military flights warn against interference in Taiwan
BEIJING — The Chinese government said Wednesday that actions like its warplanes flying near Taiwan last weekend are a warning against both foreign interference in Taiwan and any independence moves by the island. Asked about the flights, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said China’s military drills are to show the nation’s resolution to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. “They are a stern warning against external interference and provocation from separatist forces advocating for Taiwan independence,” she said at a regular briefing, giving the Chinese government’s first official comment on the recent flights. China sent eight bombers and four fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Saturday, according to Taiwan’s Defence Ministry. Taiwan scrambled fighters to monitor the activity. The U.S. State Department later issued a statement urging China “to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan” following China’s sizeable show of force. China then sent 16 military aircraft into the same area on Sunday, Taiwan said. Taiwan is a self-governing island about 160 kilometres (100 miles) off China’s east coast. The Chinese government regards it as a renegade province that should be united with mainland China. Zhu said that China would not renounce the use of force to guard against separatist moves and foreign interference. “We . reserve the option to use all necessary measures,” she said. “Our position has been consistent and will not change.” The Associated Press
Patrick, Farabee score in third, Flyers beat Devils 5-3
Nolan Patrick, Joel Farabee and Ivan Provorov scored third-period goals, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 Tuesday night for their first road win. James van Riemsdyk scored two power-play goals and Brian Elliott made 23 saves as the Flyers came back to win after blowing an early two-goal lead. Provorov, who had an empty-net goal, and Claude Giroux each had two assists as the Flyers bounced back from two losses (0-1-1) in Boston.
Japan’s COVID crisis reawakens deflation fears as cash hoarding returns
A spike in coronavirus infections in Japan is driving local households to do what they have always done in times of crisis: spend less and save more, stoking fears of a deeper retail recession and grinding deflation. Fifty-year-old Hiromi Suzuki is doing just that having quit her job at a Tokyo novelty store in December after the pandemic hit sales. Suzuki’s case exemplifies the trouble Japan faces as COVID state of emergency measures were reinstated in January, hitting spending on services, which makes up one-third of total consumption.
Cut juries from 12 to seven to combat delays in justice, says Labour
Juries should be temporarily cut from 12 to seven to help reduce delays in court trials and cut the backlog in cases, says Labour. David Lammy, shadow Justice Secretary, said smaller juries would reduce the space required to hold trials in a socially-distanced manner. He claimed the change which was last deployed during the second world war for trials except in cases of treason or murder would reduce the likelihood of jurors becoming infected. Data obtained by Labour showed that 599 court staff, judges, lawyers and jurors had tested positive for Covid-19 in a recent period of seven weeks. Mr Lammy also urged ministers to speed up the roll-out of Nightingale courts, in order to help clear the Crown Court backlog of more than 54,000 cases. It comes after four criminal justice inspectorates for England and Wales warned of their ‘grave concerns’ about the impact of the backlog on the justice system. The change was also urged last week by former appeal court judge Sir Ernest Ryder who also suggested some mid-level offences could also be heard before “intermediate courts” comprising a panel of three led by a judge instead of a jury to cut the growing case backlog. The idea of reducing the size of juries, which would require a change in law, was floated early in the pandemic by Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, and Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice and head of the judiciary. However, it has been shelved because of evidence that it would not significantly increase capacity. Instead, ministers have favoured increased use of technology, self-distancing and protective measures such as screens in courts, the opening of 18 Nightingale courts in public buildings and plans for extended court hours through a two-shift-a-day system in individual courts. Mr Lammy said: “Victims of rape, murder, domestic abuse, robbery and assault are facing delays of up to four years because of the government’s failure to act. “Justice cannot be delayed any further. Labour is calling on the government to tackle the backlog by speeding up the roll-out of Nightingale courts and temporarily introducing wartime juries of seven until the pandemic is over.” However, it will be opposed by barristers. James Mulholland QC chair of the Criminal Bar Association said: “Reducing jury numbers is a convenient way to avoid the proper solution – investing in more space and more courtrooms for criminal work. The number of Nightingale courtrooms used exclusively for crime barely touches double figures; dozens short of the extra numbers required. “It is important to reiterate at this crucial period that we must retain faith in the processes that have made our criminal justice system one of the fairest in the world. A jury of twelve must continue to be the means by which serious criminal allegations are determined and it must remain a beacon of light amidst the darkness that surrounds us.”
Your morning briefing: What you should know for Wednesday, January 27
The UK could see another 50,000 deaths from coronavirus, a scientist advising the Government has warned after the grim milestone of 100,000 was reached. Boris Johnson insisted he takes “full responsibility” for the response to the pandemic and said “we did everything we could” to minimise suffering. Professor Calum Semple, who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), predicted there could be tens of thousands more deaths.
Gobert shines as Utah Jazz rally past New York Knicks 108-94
The Utah Jazz leaned on their tough defense to keep their win streak alive. Rudy Gobert had 18 points, 19 rebounds and four blocked shots, and the Jazz beat the New York Knicks 108-94 on Tuesday night for their ninth consecutive victory. ”We did a lot of good things that didn’t show up on the scoreboard,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.Someone in a small town in Maryland is holding the $731 million winning ticket. ABC’s Andrea Fujii reports. ]]>