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When did Omicron arrive in Europe?



As authorities right around the world work to understand the nature of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant, it has been revealed that it arrived in Europe much earlier than previously thought

Omicron was identified in two test samples taken in the Netherlands between the 19th and 23rd of November, which is before South Africa first reported the strain.

It is still unclear whether the individuals who returned these positive tests had actually spent any time in southern Africa before touching down in Europe.

Authorities believed the two flights that arrived from South Africa on Sunday had brought the first Omicron cases to the continent.

Fourteen people on a plane to Amsterdam tested positive for Omicron.

However, despite all of this, the WHO says these cases do not outdate initial cases in southern Africa, with the Omicron variant first found in a specimen collected on 9 November.

Now, this all comes as the EU drug regulator announced on Tuesday that it could approve vaccines adapted to specifically target the Omicron variant within three to four months if needed

Speaking to the European Parliament, the European Medicines Agency’s executive director also believes existing shots would continue to provide protection.

Forty-two cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant have been confirmed in 10 European Union countries since the Omicron variant was first detected.

The exec says it is still unknown whether drugmakers will need to tweak their shots, but the EMA is preparing for that possibility.


Tonga welcomes more foreign aid as recovery continues



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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17 dead after immense explosion rocks western Ghana



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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Ivanka Trump to be investigated



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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