Thursday, December 1 2022



Masked dancers perform at the annual Indra Jatra festival in Kathmandu, Nepal on Sunday, September 19, 2021. The Indra Jatra festival marks the return of the festival season in the Himalayan nation two years after it was reduced due to the pandemic. (AP Photo / Niranjan Shrestha)


WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand’s largest city will remain closed for at least two more weeks, although some restrictions are eased from Tuesday.

Auckland has been in the strictest form of lockdown for just over a month, the longest period since the start of the pandemic.

New Zealand has taken an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the coronavirus and has tried to wipe out an outbreak of the delta variant altogether. But the outbreak has proven to be stubborn, with the city continuing to report around 20 new local cases every day.

And the outbreak has spread beyond Auckland after an infected prisoner was released on bail at his home in a small rural town.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was confident the lockdown was working and there was no widespread undetected transmission.

From Tuesday, Aucklanders will be able to purchase take-out food from the restaurant and some workplaces may reopen. But most people will still be required to live and work from home, and schools will remain closed.



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– See AP coverage at



WASHINGTON – The director of the National Institutes of Health said a government advisory group decision to limit Pfizer COVID-19 booster injections to Americans 65 and older as well as those at high risk of serious illness is a preliminary step and predicts wider approval for most Americans “in the coming weeks.”

Dr Francis Collins told “Fox News Sunday” that the panel’s recommendation on Friday was correct based on a “snapshot” of the data available on the effectiveness of Pfizer’s two-step regimen over time. But he said real-time data from the United States and Israel continues to show diminishing effectiveness among larger groups of people who will need to be processed soon.

Collins, who also appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said: “I think there will be a decision in the coming weeks to expand the boosters beyond the roster they approved on Friday. . “

Dr Anthony Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, on Sunday praised the advisory board’s plan to cover “a good chunk” of Americans. But he stressed that “this is not the end of the story” based on changing data and said the recommendations will likely be expanded in the weeks to months to come.

The Food and Drug Administration will review the advisory group’s advice and make its own decision, likely within days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also expected to weigh in this week.


KATMANDU, Nepal – Tens of thousands of devotees filled the ancient palace courtyard in the heart of the Nepalese capital to celebrate the feast of Indra Jatra, marking the return of the festival season in the Himalayan nation after its reduction due of the pandemic.

Kumari, a young girl worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal as a living goddess, left her temple palace for the first time in two years and was driven to central Kathmandu in a wooden chariot pulled by worshipers.

The Nepalese president and top officials also lined up for his blessing, along with tens of thousands of others. Festivals last year were cut back amid an increase in coronavirus cases.


MACKINAW CITY, Mich – A popular Halloween-themed event held annually in northern Michigan was canceled this fall due to concerns over the coronavirus, including the growing number of cases of the delta variant in the region.

Fort Fright at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City was scheduled for October 8-9.

The event is drawn from a collection of short stories published by Mackinac State Historic Parks and based on French-Canadian folk tales brought to the Straits of Mackinac region by travelers during the height of the French fur trade.

Staffing issues and concerns about volunteer accommodation also played a role in the decision to cancel the event, organizers said.

Colonial Michilimackinac is an 18th century fort and fur trading village located along the Straits of Mackinac. It was reconstructed on the basis of historical maps and more than 60 years of archaeological excavations.



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