While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 26

A woman receives a Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 18, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

More than half of American adults vaccinated as Covid-19 cases ebb

More than half of all adults in the United States have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the White House said on Tuesday, roughly six weeks before US President Joe Biden's July 4 goal of 70 per cent of the adult population receiving at least one shot.

The halfway mark comes as federal, state and local leaders press ahead with delivering Covid-19 shots to people who have not yet received them, while also battling vaccine hesitancy, fears and misinformation.

New coronavirus infections nationwide have settled into a sustained decline as more people become vaccinated.

US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said on Tuesday the seven-day average case count in the United States is now below 23,000 per day, down about 25 per cent from the prior week.


US study finds tiny number of vaccine 'breakthrough' cases

About 0.01 per cent of people became infected with Covid-19 between January and April despite being fully vaccinated, a US government study confirming the shots' high efficacy showed on Tuesday.

The report published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented so-called "breakthrough" cases among 101 million people fully vaccinated in the United States.

A total of 10,262 infections were documented at 14 days or more after the final dose of a vaccine provisionally authorised by the Food and Drug Administration - Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.


Biden, Putin to hold first summit in Geneva

US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will hold their first summit next month in Geneva, both sides said on Tuesday, though no breakthrough is expected in the fraught relationship.

The meeting in the Swiss city will be on June 16, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

"The leaders will discuss the full range of pressing issues, as we seek to restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship," she said.


'Please save him' plead parents of blogger seized from Ryanair flight

From their new home in Poland, the parents of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich have been in anguish since he was seized after his flight was forced to land in Minsk.

The group, which includes prominent longtime critics of the social media company, called on Facebook's oversight board to remove Trump from the omnipresent platform after the ex-president's account was frozen in the aftermath of the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol.

"I'm asking, I'm begging, I'm calling on the whole international community to save him," Natalia said, breaking down in tears during an interview with AFP near the train station in Wroclaw, southern Poland.


Nile fishermen protect stocks by pulling plastic from river

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For 17 years, Mohamed Nasar has supported his family of five by fishing in the Nile River near the banks of the tiny island of Al-Qursaya close to central Cairo.

But the 58-year-old says fishermen like himself catch fewer fish every year as the Nile has become clogged with plastic bottles, bags and other waste. "The fish get caught in the bottles, and they die," said Nasar.

A local environmental group named "VeryNile" has asked the island's fishermen to use their boats to collect plastic bottles from the river. VeryNile says it buys the bottles at a higher price than the general market price on offer from traders or recyling plants.


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