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A doctor prepares to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a care home in London.
A doctor prepares to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a care home in London.PHOTO: AFP

AstraZeneca vaccine trial in children paused as clot link probed

A British trial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on children has been paused, Oxford University said on Tuesday, as global regulators rush to assess its possible link to rare blood clots in adults.

The university, which helped develop the embattled vaccine, said in a statement that there were “no safety concerns” in the trial, but acknowledged fears over a potential link to clots by saying that it was awaiting additional data from Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before restarting the study.

It is the latest drama to hit AstraZeneca, which has been embroiled in controversy over its failure to deliver promised doses to the European Union, and over the jab’s efficacy and safety profile.

The MHRA is one of many bodies across the globe analysing real world data from the AstraZeneca rollout to see if there is a definitive link between the jab and a rare form of blood clot, after cases were initially reported in Norway and continental Europe.


White House rules out a US coronavirus vaccine 'passport'

The White House on Tuesday ruled out imposing any form of a coronavirus vaccine passport in the United States, but said private businesses were free to explore the idea.

"The government is not now, nor will be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential," press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

So-called vaccine passports, showing that someone has been inoculated against Covid-19, have been touted around the world as a potentially powerful tool in safely reopening countries to mass gatherings and travel. However, the idea has prompted widespread pushback over concerns due to potential privacy or other civil rights abuses.


World powers, Iran hold ‘constructive’ talks on reviving nuclear deal

Iran and world powers held what they described as “constructive” talks on Tuesday and agreed to form working groups to discuss the sanctions Washington might lift and the nuclear curbs Teheran might observe as they try to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

European intermediaries have started shuttling between Iranian and US officials in Vienna as they seek to bring both countries back into compliance with the accord, which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear programme.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, prompting Iran to steadily overstep the accord’s limits on its nuclear program designed to make it harder to develop an atomic bomb – an ambition Teheran denies.


Dutch cargo ship adrift off Norway, crew airlifted

A Dutch cargo ship was adrift in the Norwegian Sea on Tuesday after all of its crew members were airlifted, with some having to jump into the rough waters to be rescued.

The "Eemslift Hendrika", which was carrying several smaller ships from Bremerhaven in Germany to Kolvereid in Norway, made a distress call on Monday, reporting a heavy list after stormy weather displaced some of its cargo.

The 12 crew members were evacuated in two stages later the same day by Norwegian rescue services.


Kim Kardashian joins the billionaire club

Kim Kardashian has added billionaire to her resume.

The cosmetics and shapewear businesswoman, who launched her career off the reality TV series Keeping Up With The Kardashians, was included on Tuesday for the first time on Forbes magazine's list of the world's billionaires.

Forbes said it estimated that Kardashian, 40, "is now worth US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion), up from US$780 million in October, thanks to two lucrative businesses - KKW and Skims - as well as cash from reality television and endorsement deals, and a number of smaller investments." US$1 billion equates to around S$1.3 billion.