While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 24

Merck's drug, molnupiravir, was shown to reduce hospitalisations and deaths by around 30 per cent. PHOTO: REUTERS

US FDA authorises Merck's at-home antiviral Covid-19 pill

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday (Dec 23) authorised Merck & Co's antiviral pill for Covid-19 for certain high-risk adult patients, a day after giving the go-ahead to a similar treatment from Pfizer Inc for high-risk patients above the age of 12.

Merck's drug, molnupiravir, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, was shown to reduce hospitalisations and deaths by around 30 per cent in a clinical trial of high-risk individuals early in the course of the illness.

The agency authorised the oral drug for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults who are at risk for severe disease, and for whom alternative Covid-19 treatments are not accessible or clinically appropriate.


Biden signs bill to clamp down on products from China's Xinjiang

US President Joe Biden on Thursday (Dec 23) signed into law legislation that bans imports from China's Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labour, the White House said.

The bill, which received final congressional approval on Dec 16, is part of Washington's pushback against Beijing's treatment of China's Uighur Muslim minority.

Congress pushed through the measure this month after lawmakers agreed on a compromise that eliminated differences between bills introduced in the House and Senate.


Trump asks Supreme Court to block records release to Jan 6 probe

Former US president Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday (Dec 23) to block the release of documents to a congressional committee investigating the January 6 assault on the Capitol by his supporters.

Trump asked the nation's highest court to reverse a ruling this month by a federal appeals court which rejected his attempt to keep the White House records secret.

Trump, who has been accused of fomenting the attack on Congress, is seeking to exercise his privilege as a former president to keep White House documents and phone records that might relate to the January 6 attack a secret.


New rules for running shoes after Paris Olympics

Rules concerning new generation athletics shoes will be tightened after the Paris 2024 Olympics, World Athletics said on Thursday (Dec 23).

The move comes at a time where carbon and foam soles in athletics shoes appears to be improving performances.

"A long-term sustainable and implementable solution for athletic shoes which balances innovation and fairness will be introduced with suppliers given time to adapt," World Athletics said.


Coldplay will stop recording in 2025: Frontman Chris Martin

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin said Thursday (Dec 23) that the hugely successful British band will stop recording in 2025, but will continue to tour.

Coldplay, known for hits such as Yellow and Clocks, released their first studio album Parachutes in 2000.

They've since recorded eight more, including the most recent Music of the Spheres, released in October, which it is taking on a world tour next year.


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