Author: AFP

Portugal has asked other European countries for supplies of coronavirus vaccines to help accelerate its inoculation campaign, Health Minister Marta Temido said on Tuesday. Lisbon “has made a huge effort” to “receive more vaccines”, the minister said at the end of a meeting of experts to review the health situation. Around 45 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, with the government aiming for 70 per cent by the end of August. Portugal hopes to receive nearly a million doses in the next three weeks, said Henrique Gouveia e Melo, the coordinator of the national vaccination programme.  The country…

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Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles said “mental health” concerns had led to her withdrawal from the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. “I have to do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and my wellbeing,” the 24-year-old American said after her team were beaten by the Russian quartet in her absence. Biles exited the final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre after a lacklustre opening vault and walked off the competition floor before returning a short time later. The US team immediately withdrew her from the rest of the final. After she joined…

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The global economy will expand by six per cent this year, but disparities between nations are widening as advanced economies accelerate while developing countries fall behind, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.  While the forecast for global growth is unchanged from the previous estimate in April, the United States is projected to see faster seven per cent growth thanks to massive government spending and widespread COVID-19 vaccinations, while the IMF slashed the forecast for India, which is facing a resurgence of infections. “Vaccine access has emerged as the principal fault line along which the global recovery splits into two…

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Instagram has introduced changes designed to keep young users safer by making them harder to find at the image-centric social network. Tweaks rolling out to Instagram in Australia, Britain, France, Japan and the US include software designed to spot “suspicious behaviour” by adults trying to connect with underage users. “Wherever we can, we want to stop young people from hearing from adults they don’t know, or that they don’t want to hear from,” the Facebook-owned service said in a blog post. The changes come as critics urge Facebook to abandon plans for a version of Instagram tailored for children. Accounts…

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China stretched their remarkable 100 percent Olympic record in women’s synchronised 10m platform diving thanks to two fearless teenagers on Tuesday. China came into the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games hoping for a clean sweep of diving golds, but they were stunned by British duo Tom Daley and Matty Lee on Monday. Normal service was resumed however as Chen Yuxi, who is just 15, and 17-year-old diving partner Zhang Jiaqi romped to a comfortable gold with 363.78 points at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. The Chinese have won the women’s synchronised 10m platform gold at every Olympics since its debut at Sydney in 2000.…

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Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign France defender Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, according to several British media reports. Varane had been a longstanding target for United, who last week completed the transfer of England winger Jadon Sancho from German club Borussia Dortmund for a reported £73 million ($100 million).   Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are now closing in on the signing of Real centre-back Varane, having agreed a deal worth a reported £34million rising to £42million with add-ons. The 28-year-old Varane, a 2018 World Cup winner, has one season left on his contract at the Bernabeu. Continue…

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At least 16 people were injured and five missing after an explosion at a chemical park in Leverkusen, western Germany, officials said Tuesday, urging residents to stay indoors as a huge column of black smoke billowed from the site. The blast happened at around 9.40am (0740 GMT) “for still unknown reasons”, Chempark operator Currenta said in a statement. Germany’s NINA warning app sent an “extreme danger” alert to residents, telling them to close all doors and windows and keep the emergency numbers free as much as possible. Currenta said the incident occurred at Chempark’s landfill and waste incineration area in…

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French health and security authorities on Tuesday warned against honey and gel products being marketed as natural aphrodisiacs but which, in fact, contain ingredients not marked on labels that may have dangerous side effects. Anyone who has bought the products “should above all not consume them but destroy them”, French anti-fraud, customs and health products safety agencies said in a joint statement. They said the products, marketed under names like Black Horse Honey and Jaguar Power, claim to be natural but actually contain chemical products like sildenafil or tadalafil.These are the main substances in the anti-erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and…

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British author Kazuo Ishiguro could win his second Booker Prize after judges Tuesday named him among 13 finalists on this year’s longlist for one of literature’s most prestigious awards. Ishiguro, who first landed the prize in 1989 with The Remains Of The Day as well as the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, was nominated for his latest novel Klara And The Sun. He joins several other previously shortlisted or winning writers on the longlist, including American Richard Powers, who won in 2018 for The Overstory and will hope to be lauded again for his new work, Bewilderment. The Booker…

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The EU’s executive on Tuesday gave a fresh green light to a German bailout for charter airline Condor, after a court rejected an earlier approval following a challenge from Ryanair. The European Commission said it was giving its backing to a €525 million package “for damages suffered as a result of the coronavirus outbreak”. “The aviation sector has been hit particularly hard by the various travel restrictions necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in statement.  “The measures we approved today will enable Germany to compensate Condor for damages directly suffered as…

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