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Pfizer has announced that its antiviral pill Paxlovid is highly effective at preventing severe illness among at-risk people who take the drug soon after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. It’s the second of its kind, and could be even more effective than a similar pill offered by Merck, which is still awaiting authorization in the United States. Pfizer says Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% when taken within three days of the start of symptoms, and that the treatment could become available in the next few months.
The US State Department approved its first major arms sale to Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. The Pentagon plans to send 280 air-to-air missiles valued at up to $650 million. Congress has been critical of the war in Yemen, and has refused to approve many military sales for the kingdom without assurances that the equipment wouldn’t be used to kill civilians. Biden had promised to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state during his campaign, and has been criticized for not holding Riyadh accountable for the death of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other human rights abuses.
Ethiopia’s Tigray forces say they’re joining with other armed and opposition groups in an alliance against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to seek a political transition in the country, following a year of devastating war. The alliance of nine groups, including Tigray forces and the Oromo Liberation Army, was signed in Washington on Friday, and comes as US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman is meeting with senior government officials in the capital Addis Ababa. Meanwhile, allied forces fighting against the central government have said they're "weeks to months'' away from entering the capital, claiming they’re now in control of a town just 99 miles away.
Teen climate activist Howey Ou is considered China’s Greta Thunberg, taking to the streets to speak out about climate change. But in a country where speaking up comes with big risks, Ou’s path is often a lonely one.
Filmmaker and photographer Rita Leistner, who started planting trees professionally more than 20 years ago, says the work is "brutal." Her latest project brings her back to tree planting in the form of a book and documentary called "Forest for the Trees." She explained the rigors of tree planting to The World's host Marco Werman.
"An average tree planter burns about 8,000 calories a day. So, that's about the equivalent of running 2 1/2 marathons in terms of caloric output. And you're doing this day in and day out. And that is because you're carrying this heavy weight, you're climbing up and down," Leistner said.
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We say "hanging in there" quite often, especially when we've been asked, "how are you doing?" during the pandmic. Have you wondered how people around the world express the state of being OK, but not great? Host Marco Werman called up some of our foreign correspondents to find out. 🎧
Myanmar Military True News Information Team/AP
Veteran US diplomat and hostage negotiator Bill Richardson traveled to Myanmar this week, raising hopes for the release of American journalist Danny Fenster, who's been detained by the military junta for five months. And thousands of Afghans are still trying to flee Afghanistan or are somewhere en route to a new home. The US and Canada have historically been the world's two leading countries for refugee resettlement, but they've struggled to meet the needs of this group. Also, in Russia, the number of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths have increased across the country, with new record highs in both categories. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a nationwide nonworking period to curb the spread of the virus.
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