Thai woman handed record 43-year jail term for lese majeste


A Thai woman accused of insulting the royal family was jailed Tuesday for more than 43 years, a legal rights group said, the harshest punishment ever handed out under the country’s strict lese majeste laws. The verdict comes as Thailand ramps up its use of the controversial legislation against democracy… Read


China's latest COVID outbreak worst since March 2020


China is battling the worst outbreak of COVID-19 since March 2020, with one province posting a record daily rise in cases, as an independent panel reviewing the global pandemic said China could have acted more forcefully to curb the initial outbreak. State-backed tabloid the Global Times on Tuesday defended China's… Read


Biden pushes unity two days before taking over; Trump considers 100 pardons


Just 48 hours before becoming president, Joe Biden pressed Monday for unity, while President Donald Trump remained secluded in the White House at the center of a capital inundated with troops and security barriers. Biden was marking the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with a trip from his home in… Read


World facing 'catastrophic' moral failure on vaccines: WHO chief


The world is on the "brink of a catastrophic moral failure" if rich countries hog Covid-19 vaccine doses while the poorest suffer, the head of the WHO said Monday. World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus denounced the "me-first" attitude of wealthy nations and also blasted vaccine manufacturers for chasing… Read


France, UK boost vaccine campaigns; Britain shuts travel corridors


France and Britain on Monday joined a growing list of nations starting mass vaccinations for all elderly citizens as the UK began demanding all arrivals quarantine to try and halt the spread of a new Covid-19 variant. The French drive aims to cover all people over 75 and comes after… Read


California urges stop to 300,000 vaccines after some fall ill


California's state epidemiologist is urging a halt to more than 300,000 coronavirus vaccinations using a Moderna vaccine version because some people received medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions. Dr Erica S Pan on Sunday recommended providers stop using lot 41L20A of the Moderna vaccine pending completion of an investigation… Read


Biden, Harris take break from inaugural prep to mark Martin Luther King Jr Day


Two days from the inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris pitched in on Martin Luther King Jr Day service projects as a militarized and jittery Washington prepared for a swearing-in that will play out under extraordinary security. Biden and his wife, Jill, joined an assembly line in… Read


Annual pro-gun event at Virginia fizzles in wake of U.S. Capitol siege


Only a few dozen gun-rights activists converged on the Virginia state capital on Monday for an annual demonstration that typically draws thousands, with this year's protests dampened by tensions in the wake of the Jan 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. The annual "Lobby Day" gathering had put authorities on… Read


Kremlin foe Navalny held in pre-trial detention, Moscow tells West to butt out


A Russian judge remanded Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in pre-trial detention for 30 days on Monday for violating the terms of a suspended jail sentence, ignoring calls from Western countries to free the opposition politician immediately. The ruling, a day after police detained him at the airport when he returned… Read


S Africa virus strain more contagious, experts confirm


A new variant of the coronavirus first identified in South Africa is more contagious than earlier versions, experts said on Monday, but there is no evidence that it is more deadly. The new variant is 50 percent more contagious, said epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the health ministry's… Read

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