Timeframe: December 3rd – December 9th, 2021
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Contributors: Redwan Reham and Farhan Uddin Ahmed.
As 57 Countries Report Omicron Cases, Pfizer Says its Boosters Offer Protection – But WHO Cautions More Research is Needed
A South African study released late Tuesday showed that people double-vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had significantly reduced protection against the Omicron variant, now reported in 57 countries.
On Wednesday morning, Pfizer reported that the third booster of its vaccine would provide significant protection against Omicron, according to a laboratory study.
Shortly after the release of research showing reduced efficacy of the two-jab Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine against Omicron infection, but better protection with boosters, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned that more research is still needed to draw definite conclusions about vaccine strategies in the face of the new variant wave.
Source: Health Policy Watch
2. Economics & Business
More than three-quarters of the world’s wealth is under the hands of only a tenth of the world’s rich
A study by a group of economists including Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez said 30 years of the globalization of trade and finance had widened the gap between rich and poor. The research showed the richest 10% of the global population currently taking 52% of global income, compared with an 8% share for the poorest half. On average, an individual from the top 10% of the global income distribution earned $122,100 (£92,150) a year, whereas an individual from the poorest half of the global income distribution makes $3,920 a year.
The wealth gap between rich and poor was even wider than the income divide, the report added, with the boom in asset prices last year resulting in the sharpest increase in billionaires’ wealth on record.
Source: The Guardian
Germany’s Olaf Scholz takes over from Merkel as chancellor
Olaf Scholz has been sworn in as Germany’s new chancellor, formally taking power after Angela Merkel’s historic 16 years as leader. The German parliament, the Bundestag, backed him as chancellor by 395 votes to 303, and he was then formally appointed as the ninth federal chancellor by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
After the vote in parliament, he was asked by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas whether he accepted the appointment and said “yes”. He later took the oath of office. All 16 ministers took the oath of office on Wednesday
3. Science & Technology
Instagram CEO says it’s “critical” to have multi-platform youth safety rules
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri told a Senate subcommittee investigating the harmful effects of the photo-sharing app on teenagers that “keeping young people safe online is not just about one company” and called for industry-wide solutions. He called for age verification tools at the phone level.
The hearing before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security comes after damaging revelations first reported by The Wall Street Journal in September indicated top executives at Instagram were warned by researchers about the potentially harmful impacts of the platform.
New Delhi’s indoor air pollution levels are worse than outdoors, experts warn
All residents of India’s national capital city, New Delhi, and its neighboring areas have been struggling to catch their breath amid rising pollution and smog in the city. Now, research has claimed that the pollution levels of indoor air pollution, too, have reached an alarming level.
The study conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) claims that the indoor air pollution levels in New Delhi are nearly twenty times more than the World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
As per the experts, the levels of PM 2.5 were found to be much higher than the levels of outdoor air pollution reported on government portals. PM 2.5 are tiny particles in the air that can even cause extreme damage to lungs.
Source: Wio News
The UAE is adopting a 4.5-day work week
The United Arab Emirates just announced some big changes to its work schedule. The Gulf nation is transitioning to a 4.5-day work week, with weekends to consist of Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday.
That’s significant for two reasons: It likely makes the UAE the first nation to formalize a workweek shorter than five days, and it also brings the country more in line with Western schedules.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the third parties mentioned above. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.