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The Daily Brief: FDA Authorizes First Covid-19 Pill

The Pfizer drug Paxlovid has been approved to be taken orally with studies suggesting its aid in lowering life threatening side effects from the virus

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  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has passed the first ever Pfizer pill to be taken orally against Covid-19. 
  • The pill, which is a drug named Paxlovid, will be able to be taken at home for those 12 and up, working as a quicker remedy in fighting early coronavirus infections. 
  • Although not a replacement for the vaccine, the FDA stated that the pill could be used for “mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease” and “should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of Covid-19 and within five days of symptom onset”.
  • Tests have shown that the Pfizer pill is 90% effective in reducing life threatening diseases from the virus and hospitalizations.
  • Authorization of the pill comes with a new surge of the Omicron, the latest variant being the current dominant cause of cases in various countries.
  • Pfizer chairman and CEO released a statement stating the pill was a “potentially powerful tool in our fight” of the Omicron virus, but urged everyone to continue getting their vaccinations and boosters.
  • Various countries 
  • Shipments are set to begin to countries facing the worst of the variant, and a similar Merck pill is expected to also be authorized soon. 

Other Headlines 

Other Headlines: Biden Freezes Student Debt Until May 1st 

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  • President Joe Biden has extended the halt on student loans, originally frozen until February 1st, to May 1st.
  • Biden stated: “Given these considerations, today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments …as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery”.
  • Currently it’s estimated Americans owe $1.7 million in student debt, an amount which democrats have been pushing for Biden to cancel entirely.
  • Three representatives in charge of student loan cancellation called on the President to “cancel $50,000 in student debt,” which they said will “help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers and accelerate our economic recovery.” 

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European Nations Return to Covid Restrictions Amidst Rampant Omicron Strain

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  • Leaders of European nations are reinstating Covid restrictions as the continent sees a surge in Omicron variant transmission.
  • The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is the dominant strain in Europe.
  • Germany and Portugal are enacting increased social distancing measures, while Spain and France are coping with an uptick in infection rates. 
  • European World Health Organization official Dr. Hans Kluge warned of the effect the surge in daily cases could have on the European healthcare systems, driving them to the point of collapse.

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Dinosaur Embryo Reveals Closer Link of Dinosaurs to Birds 

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  • An Oviraptorosaur fossil was discovered in southern China.  
  • “Baby Yingliang” is the well-preserved fossil of a 66-million-year old dinosaur embryo. 
  • Researchers from the University of Birmingham and China University of Geosciences collaborated to study the embryo and publish findings.  The most notable finding was that the dinosaurs adopted pre-hatching postures similar to birds. 
  • The curled up position that is the hallmark of modern bird embryos appeared in dinosaur embryos millions of years ago, suggesting a strong link between the two species.
  • The discovery was ground-breaking because of the degree of preservation for the fossil and because dinosaur embryos are a rare fossil find. 

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Nearly 100 People Missing Following Jade Mine Landslide in Myanmar

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  • A landslide occurred at a jade mine in Myanmar’s northern Kachin state Wednesday.  As the world’s largest jade source, the country’s mines are not accident-proof.
  • The reported cause of the landslide is a discarded rubble overflow.  The rubble comes from trucks discarding the waste into the mines.
  • The largest number of victims of the landslide were illegal miners.  One victim died, while rescue teams sent 25 injured individuals to the hospital.
  • Up to 100 people are still missing.
  • Jade mining is against the law in the Hpakant area of Kachin, but the country’s worsening economic conditions amidst the coronavirus pandemic have forced locals to find ways to make ends meet.

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Madagascar Police Minister Survives Helicopter Crash

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  • Madagascar’s Police Minister, Serge Gelle, swam to safety after his helicopter crashed in the sea.  Another survivor of the crash was a security official. 
  • The rescue team’s destination was a shipwreck site, where 64 people died in the accident.  There are still 20 others missing.
  • The ship was a cargo ship unauthorized to carry passengers.  This led to water flooding the engine.  
  • The survivor count of the shipwreck is up to 45.
  • Gelle used a helicopter seat as his flotation device and swam to safety, citing only feeling cold after his marvelous feat.  
  • A strong gust of wind brought Gelle’s helicopter down on Monday.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

China Threatens Consequences if Pelosi Visits Taiwan

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  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed inTaiwan. Prior to the visit, China’s Foreign Ministry has voiced their disapproval, stating that “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in response  that “The speaker will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” and that the US is looking to Beijing to “act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
  • The US has made it clear that members of Congress routinely visit Taiwan and that this trip is non-threatening and has precedent. Even so, some officials have expressed concern that China may invade Taiwan’s air defense zone or send missiles near Taiwan in retaliation.
  • Pelosi has criticized China’s leadership and vocalized support for Taiwan in the past. She is currently on her tour of Asia, with scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test

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  • North Korea could be preparing a seventh nuclear test, especially after Mr. Kim announced that the country is fully ready for any military confrontation with the US at a Korean War Anniversary event. 
  • A US special representative in North Korea states that Jong-Un has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year—31 to 25. Jong-Un also stated that threats from the US required North Korea to achieve the urgent historical task of strengthening its self-defense. 
  • Jong-un also stated that South Korea is reviving a plan to counter North Korea’s threat by mounting precautionary strikes; in June alone, South Korea launched 8 missiles of its own.
  • The North Korean regime is especially angry with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol and his so-called Kill Chain strategy. This strategy allows South Korea to launch ballistic missiles and air strikes on North Korean targets if it ever feels threatened. 
  • North Korea has also not been getting as much engagement with Washington ever since Biden replaced Trump, and could be hinting at some sort of deliberate escalation by the North, and preparations have been underway at the Punggye Ri test site since March.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Pope Francis Apologizes for Indigenous Abuse in Canadian Residential Schools

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  • Pope Francis traveled to the grounds of a former residential school near Alberta, Canada and formally apologized for the Church’s role in the abuse of indigenous people and erasure of indigenous culture.
  • The majority of the schools were run by members of the Roman Catholic Church in the late 1800s and 1900s. Around 150,000 indigenous children were sent to the schools and more than 3,000 are estimated to have died.
  • In his speech, the Pope asked for forgiveness and highlighted the Church’s role in the schools system, stating, “I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities cooperated… in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.”
  • Indigenous chiefs, survivors of the residential schools, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were some of the few in attendance for the Pope’s remarks.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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