Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.
1. Study suggests Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine may only partially protect against Omicron
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus can partially evade the protection from two doses of Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, the research head of a laboratory at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa said on Tuesday.
Still, the study showed that blood from people who had received two doses of the vaccine and had a prior infection were mostly able to neutralise the variant, suggesting that booster doses of the vaccine could help to fend off infection.
2. Saudi suspect in Khashoggi killing arrested in France
A suspect in the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested Tuesday in France, according to a French judicial official. The official said the suspect was being held on the basis of a Turkish arrest warrant. He requested not being named in accordance with the French justice system’s customary practices.
The Saudi Embassy in Paris said the arrested man “had nothing to do with the case in question,” and said the embassy expects his immediate release.
3. Chile passes law to legalise same-sex marriage
Chile’s Congress passed a bill Tuesday recognising the legal rights of same-sex couples to marry. The Senate and lower house both voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure.
The passage of the law Tuesday was lauded by rights groups, equal marriage rights advocates and same-sex couples. The passage of the bill marks something of a milestone for the conservative Latin American nation.
4. Lankan minister demands apology from Pak Defence Minister for insensitive remarks on lynching incident
Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekara on Tuesday demanded an apology from Pakistan’s Defence Minister Pervez Khattak for his insensitive remarks on the lynching of a Sri Lankan national by a frenzied mob in Punjab province.
Khattak on Monday said the ghastly lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana at the hands of a mob in Sialkot should not be linked to the Pakistan government’s recent decision to lift the ban on the hardline Islamist party, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), saying even “murders take place” when young people get emotional. The senior Pakistani minister’s remarks came amid countrywide outrage after a mob comprising hundreds of protestors tortured to death the Sri Lankan factory manager over blasphemy allegations and then burnt his body on Friday.
5. Amazon cloud outage hits major websites, streaming apps
A major outage disrupted Amazon’s cloud services on Tuesday, knocking out streaming platforms Netflix and Disney+, Robinhood, a wide range of apps and Amazon.com Inc’s e-commerce website as consumers shopped ahead of Christmas. Amazon said it was working to resolve the issue and was making progress, but did not give an estimate when services would be fully restored.
Amazon’s Ring security cameras, mobile banking app Chime and robot vacuum cleaner maker iRobot, that use Amazon Web Services (AWS), reported issues according to their social media pages. Trading app Robinhood and Walt Disney’s streaming service Disney+ and Netflix were also down, according to Downdetector.com.