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UN event feared to be a COVID super spreader

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There are fears across the US that this week’s annual world leaders meeting at the United Nations could spark a super spreader event

The week of UN general assembly will end with leaders of some of America’s closest allies in Asia – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga – heading to Washington for the first in-person meeting of the Quad bloc on Friday.

But fears the event could become a super spreader comes as developing countries struggle with access to Covid-19 vaccines, even as developed nations begin offering booster shots.

Scores of Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers are set to ignore a US suggestion to stay home and address the UN General Assembly virtually.

It follows the World Health Organisation saying more than 5.7 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally.

But 73 percent of those doses have been administered in just 10 countries.

The W-H-O is concerned about vaccine equity being the biggest stumbling block to ending the pandemic – and preventing even more infectious strains of COVID-19.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

World

Queen Elizabeth not attending COP26 climate event

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Buckingham Palace says the Queen is accepting doctor’s advice to rest

Following a health scare just last week… Queen Elizabeth will not be attending the upcoming COP-26 climate event in Glasgow.

This comes as doctors advise the royal to rest and comes just hours after she carried out her first official engagements since being admitted to hospital.

On Tuesday, Elizabeth met virtually with the ambassador of Korea and Switzerland.

Last week, Buckingham Palace revealed the monarch spent a night in hospital for “preliminary investigations”… but returned home in “good spirits”.

Meanwhile, the Queen was due to attend an evening reception in Glasgow on Monday but will deliver a video message instead.

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World

Jeff Bezos unveils plans for commercial space station

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Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company, Blue Origin, has announced plans to launch a space station in Earth’s orbit.

The station will be named “Orbital Reef,” and is projected to be built and operational by the end of the decade.

The company says the station will be serve as a “mixed-use business park” in space and will host up to 10 people.

Promotional material released by the company revealed the 32-thousand square foot station will provide customers with an ideal location for “filmmaking in microgravity”, or “conducting cutting-edge research”.

It’s also speculated that the space station will include a “space hotel”.

The company will partner with Sierra Space and Boeing to build the outpost.

The announcement comes amid NASA efforts to find a proposal to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is now more than 20 years old and in desperate need of repair.

This will include $400m in private contracts to space companies to help the agency replace the ageing outpost.

There is likely to be stiff competition for the funding, and Blue Origin is the latest firm to unveil their space station concept, joining space firms Nanoracks, Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin, who have teamed up to launch a station into low orbit by 2027.

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Tech

Facebook, YouTube remove Bolsonaro video with false vaccine claim

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Facebook and YouTube have both removed videos from their platforms featuring Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, in which the leader makes a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to developing AIDS.

Both sites said the video violated their policies.

“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases, and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement.

Last month, YouTube moved to remove vaccine misinformation of all kinds from its platform, and has removed more than 1 million videos related to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation since the pandemic began.

Earlier this year, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s official channel where he recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, two drugs that are proven to be ineffective in the treatment of the disease.

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