|German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Photo: AA)|
German president receives AstraZeneca vaccine
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier received the AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, and called on citizens to get vaccinated against the virus.
The 65-year-old politician received the jab at a military hospital in Berlin, and shared a photo of himself receiving the vaccine, in order to encourage citizens to get the shot.
“I trust the vaccines approved in Germany,” he said in a statement posted on social media.
“Vaccination is the crucial step on the way out of the pandemic. Take advantage of the opportunity. Join in!” he said.
Germany’s national vaccination campaign has not picked up at the desired pace even three months after it was kicked off, due to production delays, logistical problems, as well as confusion and mistrust among some citizens.
The German government decided earlier this week to suspend the routine use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60, due to rare but serious side effects among younger recipients of the vaccine, according to AA.
UN Security Council 'strongly' condemns Myanmar violence, civilian deaths
The UN Security Council on Thursday (April 1) "strongly condemned" the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Myanmar, in a unanimous statement watered down by China after two days of tough negotiations.
"Members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation and strongly condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women and children," read the statement, initiated by former colonial power Britain.
In earlier versions of the text, obtained by AFP, Western nations wanted to include a "readiness to consider further steps" - a reference to the possibility of international sanctions.
But China, considered Myanmar's most important ally, blocked the language, diplomats said.
Beijing also insisted on softening a reference to the "killing" of hundreds of civilians and changing it to civilian "deaths".
Russia, diplomats said, also blocked the text several times because Moscow wanted a sentence condemning the death of security forces members in demonstrations, according to StraitTimes.
Biden Announces Huge Infrastructure Plan to 'Win the Future'
President Joe Biden has outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure over the next eight years.
Speaking at a carpenters union training center in Pittsburgh, Biden drew comparisons between his hard-hatted proposed transformation of the U.S. economy and the space race — and promised results as grand in scale as the New Deal or Great Society programs that shaped the 20th century.
“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Biden said. "It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it’s the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs.”
|President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure spending at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (Photo: AP)|
White House officials say the spending would generate those jobs as the country shifts away from fossil fuels and combats the perils of climate change. It is also an effort to compete with the technology and public investments made by China, which has the world’s second-largest economy and is fast gaining on the United States’ dominant position.
“I’m convinced that if we act now, in 50 years people are going to look back and say this is the moment when America won the future,” Biden said.
The Democratic president’s infrastructure projects would be financed by higher corporate taxes — a trade-off that could lead to fierce resistance from the business community and thwart attempts to work with Republican lawmakers. Biden hopes to pass an infrastructure plan by summer, which could mean relying solely on the slim Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, US News reported.
WHO highlights COVID animal origins
A World Health Organization-led study, published Tuesday, said it was “likely to very likely” that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the global pandemic, was introduced to humans from bats via an intermediary species, with wildlife farming playing a crucial role.
Tong Yigang, a Chinese animal disease expert involved in the joint study, said the findings vindicated Beijing’s decision last year to ban trade in wildlife for human consumption.
But the report also drew attention to the wildlife farms still allowed to operate legally, serving the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) industry and the fur trade - and creating more spillover risks.
“With farms you have a large pool of animals that are more or less genetically homogeneous, where a virus can easily evolve,” said Christian Walzer, chief veterinarian at New York’s Wildlife Preservation Society.
China tested thousands of animal samples to trace the coronavirus’s origins, but the study said more investigations were required. It also recommended surveys at mink and raccoon dog farms, which China still allows even though they are infection-prone, Reuters reported.
“Cramming millions of animals together in these abusive industries creates a perfect petri dish for pandemics, and unless we ban farming for fur ... we will continue to play Russian roulette with global public safety,” warned Peter Li, China expert at Humane Society International.
Gold price forecast – gold markets show strength again
The gold markets have rallied again during the trading session on Thursday, as we are trying to form some type of bottom.
Gold markets have formed a little bit of a “double bottom” in the short term, but at this point time I think that the market needs to break above the $1750 level before we can continue to go higher. If we do break above there, then it is possible that we go looking towards $1800 after that. That being said, a lot of this could be short covering, as we have seen yields drop recently, so that of course does help gold, but if yields start to spike again, that could send gold much lower.
|(Photo: NBC News)|
The gold market has an inverse correlation to yields, and with Friday being a holiday, there will be very limited trading. Because of this, I would not expect too much during the trading session but will start to pay close attention to the action that we see on Monday, as that will be when a bit more liquidity comes back into the market.
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