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Omicron to infect half of Europe within weeks

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The Economist

More than half of Europe will have been infected with the Omicron variant within weeks according to a stark new warning from the World Health Organisation

Regional European Director for Europe, Hans Kluge says a “west-to-east tidal wave” is sweeping across the continent.

Seven million new cases were reported throughout the region in the first week of 20-22… with the total number of infections more than doubling in just a 14 day period.

And these infection numbers are being seen right around the world.

Kluge says both European and Central Asian nations remain under “intense pressure”… with the virus spreading quickly from Western nations into the Balkans.

New data surrounding Omicron has found the variant is less likely to make people seriously ill… but Omicron is highly infectious and has the ability to impact even those who are fully vaccinated… which is straining hospitals.

In the United Kingdom, the huge number of new infections pushed the health care system to breaking point… and on Monday, Britain reported more than 142-thousand cases.

But Kluge says, despite Omicron’s ability to infect full vaccinated individuals, current vaccines remain the best form of defence against severe disease..

World

Tonga welcomes more foreign aid as recovery continues

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Aid is trickling into Tonga from around the world, as more governments deploy ships and flights to the island nation following the massive tsunami on Saturday

The underwater volcano explosion triggered tsunami waves across the Pacific, claiming the lives of at least three people in Tonga.

The wild weather event caused significant damage and crippled communications – the true extent of the damage is still unknown.

A New Zealand vessel which is expected to arrive on Friday is the first major supply ship to pending to dock.

The captain of the HMNZS Aotearoa had earlier told ticker NEWS partner Reuters that the ship was carrying 250,000 litres of water, along with other supplies. The UN says clean water supplies are the top priority for the Pacific nation.

Australia has also deployed its largest ship, the HMAS Adelaide.

The vessel set sail bound for Tonga on Friday. The ship can carry helicopters which can be deployed from the ship to bring supplies to Tonga’s smaller outer islands.

That vessel is due to arrive mid-next week.

The UK also announced on Friday it was also redeploying its HMS Spey to the Tongan response and had sent aid supplies ahead with the Australian ship.

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World

17 dead after immense explosion rocks western Ghana

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17 people have died in Western Ghana after a truck carrying mining explosives collided with a motorcycle sparking an explosion

The explosion has left hundreds of buildings destroyed, many feared to be trapped among the rubble.

The accident happened around midday, near the mining city of Bogoso, 300km west of the West African country’s capital of Accra.

The exact number of casualties so far stands at 17, with authorities on the ground confirming another 59 are in hospital.

However, the head of the Prestea Huni-Valley municipal government where the explosion took place, Isaac Dsamani, told local media that officials had counted “about 17 dead bodies” so far.

According to reports, at least 57 who were injured had been taken to local hospitals.

More than 500 buildings have been destroyed.

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World

Ivanka Trump to be investigated

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The US House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots is now requesting to speak with Ivanka Trump

Ivanka is Donald Trump’s daughter and was a senior White House advisor during the insurrection.

The request marks a major step forward in the investigation, as the panel closes in on the former president and his inner circle.

The committee publicly released a letter addressed to Ivanka… seeking “voluntary cooperation”.

The letter also includes testimony regarding Trump’s efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of the attack.

A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump has refused to respond as to whether the former president’s daughter will cooperate.

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