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Here is an overview of the main developments in the world today.

1. WHO recommends Eli Lilly, GSK-Vir’s drugs, to expand Covid-19 treatment pool

A World Health Organization (WHO) panel has recommended the use of two drugs by Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology for Covid-19 patients, adding treatment options like the fast-spreading Omicron variant renders many ineffective. WHO data shows that Omicron, which escapes the protection afforded by many vaccines and therapies, has been identified in 149 countries.

On Thursday, the panel strongly recommended Lilly’s baricitinib, sold under the brand name Olumiant, for patients with severe Covid-19 in combination with corticosteroids, while conditionally approving GSK-Vir’s antibody therapy for non-severe patients at highest risk of hospitalization. So far, GSK-Vir monoclonal antibody treatment is the only one to have been shown to be effective against Omicron in laboratory tests, while similar treatments from Eli Lilly and Co and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals offered less protection in such tests

2. Pakistan Passes Controversial Finance Bill

Pakistan’s National Assembly on Thursday passed the controversial Finance (Supplementary) Bill, also known as the “mini-budget”, despite strong resistance from opposition parties. The bill to further raise taxes and empower the central bank was tabled on December 30 by the government meet a key condition by the International Monetary Fund to approve $1 billion under the $6 billion expanded funding mechanism.

The opposition claimed that additional taxes would hurt the already burdened masses while the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021, which was also passed with the Finance Bill, would make the central bank stronger than the government and would operate of its own volition.

3. Last year was the sixth hottest on record in the world, according to American scientists

Last year ranked as the sixth hottest year on record, causing extreme weather events around the world and adding to the evidence that the globe is in a long-term warming trend, according to an analysis released Thursday by two US government agencies. Data compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA also revealed that the past eight years have been the eight hottest, and the past decade has been the hottest since the start of the record. records in 1880, officials said.

The 2021 warming happened despite the presence of La Nina in the eastern Pacific Ocean, a cooling trend that generally lowers global temperatures. Last year’s extreme heat wave in the US Pacific Northwest, intense rains from Hurricane Ida and flooding in Germany and China were linked to global warming, the agencies said.

4. Britain’s Prince Andrew loses royal and military ties

Prince Andrew had his military ties and royal patronages removed Thursday and will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness”, Buckingham Palace has said, as Queen Elizabeth’s son fights a US lawsuit in which he is accused of sexual abuse.

Andrew, 61, the Duke of York, was forced to resign from public office in 2019 over his links to US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and after a disastrous BBC interview, which the prince hoped she would clear her name. Thursday’s move by the Royal Family means he will now lose all of his royal connections.

5. Blinken says US working on Havana syndrome after illnesses of diplomats in Paris and Geneva

The United States still does not know what disease known as Havana syndrome is or who is responsible, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview Thursday after more US diplomats were reported sick in Paris and Geneva. Blinken said the entire federal government is working to shed light on the disease, which has afflicted around 200 American diplomats, officials and family members abroad.

“To this day, we don’t know exactly what happened and we don’t know exactly who is responsible,” Blinken said in an interview with MSNBC. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday additional illnesses among officials serving in U.S. diplomatic missions in Paris and Geneva, where the United States and Russia held security talks on Monday on the reinforcement of troops from Moscow near the Ukrainian border.

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