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US doubles COVID vaccine purchases for global sharing

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The United States has officially pledged to provide 500 million more Pfizer Covid-19 doses to developing nations

President Joe Biden has announced that the United States will double its purchases of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to send to low and middle-income countries, bringing the country’s total pledged donations to a total of 1.1 billion doses.

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The Biden administration’s commitment to provide the additional doses was made at a virtual Covid-19 summit following the UN General Assembly.

Experts believe a total of around 11 billion doses will be required to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population.

Although many wealthy nations have high vaccination rates, only 2 percent of people in low-income countries have received their first dose.

This follows the World Health Organisation setting a goal to have 40% of the population vaccinated by the end of 20-21.

The United States has previously pledged to donate 580 million jabs but has currently delivered around 160 million.

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World

Balloon diplomacy blows China off course

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China claims an “airship” that is flying over the United States is for civilian meteorological and other scientific purposes and voiced regret that it strayed into U.S. airspace.

U.S. officials said on Thursday that a Chinese spy balloon has been flying over the United States for a couple of days, in what would be a brazen act just days ahead of a planned trip to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In a statement late on Friday, China’s foreign ministry also said that it would continue to maintain communications with the United States to properly handle the unexpected situation.

“The airship is from China and is civilian in nature, used for meteorological and other scientific research. Due to the influence of westerly winds and its limited control capability, the airship deviated from its intended course,” it said.

“China regrets that the airship strayed into the United States by mistake due to force majeure. China will continue to maintain communication with the U.S. side to properly handle this accident,” it said.

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World

U.S. announces longer-range rocket for Ukraine

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A new rocket that would double Ukraine’s strike range in its war with Russia was included in a $2.175 billion U.S. military aid package.

The new weapon, the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), will allow Ukraine’s military to hit targets at twice the distance reachable by the rockets it now fires from the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The 151 km (94 mile) GLSDB will put all of Russia’s supply lines in eastern Ukraine within reach, as well as part of Russian-occupied Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

“As part of the USAI package, we will be providing Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb to Ukraine,” Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told a news briefing at the Pentagon. USAI stands for Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).

Friday’s aid pledge opens the door to many more deliveries of the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB).

When the new rockets arrive, it will mark the first time Ukraine has seen its rocket range grow exponentially since U.S. furnished HIMARS in late-June 2022.

HIMARS have a 77 km (48 mile) range and were instrumental in Ukraine’s counter offensive against Russian forces, which invaded on Feb. 24, 2022.

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Fame

Fans struggle to buy Beyonce concert tickets

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If you’re struggling to get Beyonce tickets, you’re not alone

 
O2 customers in the U.K. were reporting problems with the company’s app and website.

For those who were able to get through, they paid anywhere from £56-199.

For those who are super keen, there are V.I.P. packages with front row seats. But that’ll set you back £475.

Some fans took to social media to vent their frustrations over the ticketing fiasco.

It’s Queen B’s first solo tour in seven years, and will take her across Europe and North America.

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