While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 7

Biden’s support for patent waivers faces uphill effort in Europe

President Joe Biden’s about-face on pushing pharmaceutical companies to share vaccine patents, in an attempt to help poorer countries, faces a considerable challenge in Europe.

Under growing pressure, the European Union – whose approval would be needed – said on Thursday it would consider the Biden administration’s decision to reverse course and support a waiver of patents for Covid-19 vaccines as many poor and middle-income nations struggle to secure lifesaving doses.

But in a speech on Thursday, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, did not endorse the plan, raising questions about whether the bloc would agree to waive patents, something she has said previously she was staunchly against.

That position was underscored by a statement from Germany, the bloc’s de facto leader, later in the day, that the US proposal could trigger “severe implications” for the production of vaccines.


Former Maldives president injured in ‘assassination attempt’

A bomb blast injured former Maldives president and current parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed on Thursday, officials and residents said.

The 53-year-old pro-democracy pioneer was about to get into his car in the congested capital when a bomb rigged to a motorcycle was detonated, officials said.

“Nasheed escaped an assassination attempt,” a Maldivian government official told AFP by telephone. “He is injured, but his condition is stable.”


Twenty-five killed in deadliest Rio police raid since 2005

At least 25 people were killed in a shootout between suspected drug traffickers and police in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, one of the state’s deadliest police raids, police said.

People targeted in the raid in the poor Jacarezinho neighbourhood tried to escape across rooftops as police arrived in armoured vehicles and helicopters flew overhead, television images showed. The firefight forced residents to shelter in their homes.

The victims included one police officer, and the remainder were suspected members of the drug gang.


Moderna vaccine 96 per cent effective in 12-17 year-olds, study shows

Moderna said on Thursday its Covid-19 vaccine is 96 per cent effective among youths aged 12 to 17, according to the results of its first clinical trials.

Two-thirds of the 3,235 participants in trials in the United States received the vaccine and one-third were given a placebo.

The study “showed vaccine efficacy against Covid-19 of 96 per cent; mRNA-1273 was generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns identified to date,” the company said.


Football: Man United to face Villarreal in Europa League final

Manchester United and Villarreal will face off in the Europa League final after completing respective last-four wins over Roma and Arsenal on Thursday.

United went through to the May 26 showdown in Gdansk 8-5 on aggregate despite a 3-2 defeat in Rome while Villarreal held on to their 2-1 first-leg lead to get past the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium.

Edinson Cavani was key for United at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring both of the Premier League side’s goals as they held off a valiant attempt at an improbable comeback from their Italian opposition.


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