While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 3

The Brazil variant of Covid-19 likely arose in Manaus and then fuelled a record-breaking spike of coronavirus cases. PHOTO: AFP

Brazil variant able to re-infect Covid-19 patients

In just a matter of weeks, two variants of the coronavirus have become so familiar that you can hear their inscrutable alphanumeric names regularly uttered on television news.

B117, first identified in Britain, has demonstrated the power to spread far and fast. In South Africa, a mutant called B.1.351 can dodge human antibodies, blunting the effectiveness of some vaccines.

Scientists have also had their eye on a third worrying variant that arose in Brazil, called P1.

It has gained the ability to infect some people who had immunity from previous bouts of Covid-19, and laboratory experiments suggest that P1 could weaken the protective effect of a Chinese vaccine now in use in Brazil.


Yemen a 'step away' from devastating famine, as donations fall short

Famine could become part of war-torn Yemen's "reality" in 2021, the UN warned on Tuesday, after a donor conference raising funds to keep millions from starvation fell short by more than half.

The United Nations had sought Monday to raise US$3.85 billion (S$5.1 billion) from more than 100 governments and donors, but only US$1.7 billion was offered.

"The prospect of more people suffering a famine has just grown exponentially," UN Development Programme chief Achim Steiner told AFP on Tuesday.


At least 13 killed in crash in Southern California, authorities say

At least 13 people were killed on Tuesday when a tractor-trailer slammed into the side of an SUV that was carrying more than two dozen people in Southern California, near the border with Mexico.

The tractor-trailer had been travelling along State Route 115 when the driver of the SUV, a maroon Ford Expedition, pulled into its path.

The tractor-trailer struck the SUV on the driver's side, which caused several passengers to be thrown from the vehicle. There were 25 people inside the SUV, and 12 were dead when police arrived on the scene.


Meghan Markle awarded $800,000 in costs after court privacy win

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Meghan, Britain's Duchess of Sussex, was awarded £450,000 (S$800,000) on Tuesday as a provisional payment towards her legal costs after she won a privacy claim against the Mail on Sunday which had printed extracts of a letter she wrote to her father.

Last month, a judge at London's High Court ruled the tabloid had breached her privacy and infringed her copyright by publishing parts of the five-page letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, who she fell out with on the eve of her wedding to Queen Elizabeth's grandson, Prince Harry.

The court was told Meghan's legal team was seeking more than £1.5 million in legal fees, with half the amount to be paid within 14 days, a sum the paper described as "disproportionate".


Football: Man City equal unbeaten record in 4-1 Wolves demolition

Manchester City equalled their club record of 28 games unbeaten on Tuesday, hammering Wolverhampton 4-1 to open up a 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola shuffled his pack at the Etihad against the team who did the league double against them last season.

City were made to sweat after Conor Coady headed in a second-half equaliser to cancel out an early own goal from Leander Dendoncker. But two late goals from Gabriel Jesus and a Riyad Mahrez strike sealed the three points.


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