The World Health Organization’s Africa director has sounded an optimistic note, saying Africa appears to be entering an “endemic” phase of “living with” the coronavirus. President Joe Biden has urged American citizens to flee Ukraine before it’s too late. Protests by Canadian truckers have paralyzed three border crossings. And alarming consumer price index data for January sent Wall Street plummeting. All this and more in today’s APB.
1 – Go home now!
Biden urges US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country
President Joe Biden has called on Americans to leave Ukraine immediately, warning that “things could get crazy fast.” Biden stressed that he would not send troops to rescue Americans who chose to stay. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it plans to invade Ukraine, but its actions suggest otherwise. More than 100,000 Russian troops are stationed on Ukraine’s borders and Moscow conducted joint military exercises with Belarus earlier in the week. Another diplomatic blow was struck Thursday night as Russia and Ukraine announced they had failed to reach a breakthrough in talks with French and German officials. (Source:BBC)
2 – Covid respite for Africa?
WHO: Africa is emerging from the pandemic phase
A week after the regional head of the World Health Organization announced that Europe was entering a period of pandemic “ceasefire”, its director for Africa expressed similar hopes. “We think we are heading now, especially with the expected increase in vaccination, towards what could become a sort of endemic living with the virus,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti. This contrasts with warnings from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has repeatedly said the pandemic is not over. Moeti added that the number of COVID-19 infections in Africa could be seven times higher than official reports and deaths two to three times higher. (Source:The Guardian,AlJazeera)
3 – Border Blues
Truckers protest the closure of three border crossing points between the United States and Canada
As Ottawa’s protests against pandemic restrictions drag into a third week, border crossings in Michigan, North Dakota and Montana have been cut off by truckers and anti-vaxxers on the Canadian side of the border. The Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario — The busiest international crossing in North America — has been closed since Monday. Now, the passage connecting Emerson, Manitoba, and Pembina, North Dakota, as well as the Coutts access point between Alberta and Montana have also been blocked. The mayor of Windsor said city leaders will be in court on Friday seeking an injunction against the protesters. (Source:CNN)
4 – inflation for the nation
Prices in the United States climb at the highest rate in 40 years
Consumer price index data released on Thursday showed prices rising at the fastest rate in 40 years. The jump of 7.5% on the year and 0.6% in January exceeded expectations and sent the markets down. Of particular concern was the fact that the increases went beyond pandemic-affected goods and services to the prices of food, electricity and housing. While most economists believe prices will fall in 2022, all eyes are on the Federal Reserve, which may have the incentive to raise inflation significantly. “My concern is that they’re overdoing it,” said Ryan Sweet, economist at Moody’s Analytics. (Source:NYT)
5 – Briefly
Right here are some things you should know today:
Prince Charles has COVID-19 – again. The heir to the British throne, who had the virus in 2020, has tested positive for the second time. Queen Elizabeth II is being watched closely after seeing him on Tuesday. (Source: Daily mail) The koalas are in trouble. The Australian government has upgraded the conservation status of koalas in the east of the country from vulnerable to endangered. (Source: DW) Two PM for Libya? Libya’s parliament has appointed former interior minister Fathi Bashaga to lead a new interim government. Asked if the UN still recognizes outgoing Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as the leader, spokesman Stephane Dujarric replied: “The short answer is yes”. (Source: AlJazeera)
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The Carlos Watson Show, Season 4
1 – liquid gold
Can recycling pee save the world?
If it’s yellow, don’t let it soften. Scientists from Sweden to Ethiopia are researching ways to separate urine from other wastewater, then turn it into fertilizer, building bricks and electricity. The challenges abound: Current urine-diverting toilets are inefficient and urine itself is “a bad solution”, says Tove Larsen, a chemical engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. But new toilet designs and recycling techniques are giving scientists hope. Urine diversion, Larsen says, is “the only technology that can solve the household nutrient issue in a reasonable timeframe. But people must dare. (Source:Nature)
2 – ball boredom
Russian gallery keeper fired for drawing eyes on painting
The eyes are the window to the soul. ‘Annoyed’ Russian security guard faces criminal investigation for scribbling on Anna Leporskaya three digits on his first day of work at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Yekaterinburg. Avant-garde painting from the Soviet era features three abstract – and usually eyeless – figures. “His motives are still unknown, but the administration thinks it’s some kind of loss of reason,” said exhibit curator Anna Reshetkina. The painting, which was defaced (or refaced?) with a branded pen from the Yeltsin Center, is currently being restored and the caretaker faces three months in prison. (Source:BBC,The Guardian)
3 – nine lives
Missing Maine cat found in Florida — After 7 years
When Denise Cilley received a call that her cat had been found in Florida, she was confused. “Well, I live in Maine,” she said, “and I don’t miss a cat.” But microchips don’t lie. Ashes, a young gray tabby, went missing from Chesterville, Maine in August 2015 and, after an extensive search, the Cilleys speculated she had fallen prey to a predator. It’s unclear how Ashes got to Florida, but she has now been reunited with her owners (who own nine other cats) thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. “Everyone is fine,” Cilley said Thursday. “Microchips work wonders.” (Source:Florida Insider,Central Maine)
4 – Wacky Wish List
Conservation Group’s “Most Wanted” Species List for Missing Species
According to Re:wild, a conservation group supported by Leonardo DiCaprio, a tap-dancing spider, a catfish compared to the Michelin man and a flying squirrel are three of the “25 most wanted lost species”. The list is part of the organization’s quest to find species lost to science — and in many cases presumed extinct. Since 2017, Re:wild has confirmed the rediscovery of eight species including the world’s largest bee in Indonesia. “These stories of neglected, yet fascinating species can be a powerful antidote to despair,” said Barney Long, senior director of conservation strategies at Re:wild. (Source:The Guardian)
5 – Close but no cigar
Shaun White finishes fourth in final Olympic event
Unless he reconsiders retiring before Italy 2026, the snowboarder known as the Flying Tomato will not add to his tally of three halfpipe golds. The 35-year-old, who briefly held second place in Friday’s final, was beaten to the podium by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, Australia’s Scotty James and Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer. Hirano, who landed historic triple corks in two of his races, earned his win with 96 points — 3.50 ahead of James. White received a round of applause from his competitors as he emerged from the Olympic pipe for the final time with tears in his eyes. (Source: ABC News)
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