LONDON: People in Britain will need to consider their Christmas travelling routes carefully if COVID-19 restrictions are temporarily relaxed for a fixed period over the festive season, the transport minister said on Tuesday (Nov 24). "I want to be completely upfront with you. We are going to have to ask people to take a close look at any proposed journey and think about the routes that they're taking," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC TV. The government said on Sunday that restrictions could be eased across Britain over Christmas to allow families to get together for a period of up to five days, leading to forecasts of gridlock as people all set off on the same day. READ: Johnson locks down England as UK COVID-19 cases pass 1 million READ: AstraZeneca and Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine shows 'an average efficacy of 70%' in trials Christmas is always a busy time to travel, said Shapps, but the pandemic will add extra congestion, particularly on the railways with the … [Read more...] about Christmas getaways will need careful planning: UK minister
A Taiwan bird protection group said Tuesday it has been kicked out of BirdLife International -- a global conservation partnership -- after refusing to sign a statement saying it would never advocate for the island's independence from China. UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva The incident is the latest illustration of how businesses, charities and other organisations in democratic Taiwan find themselves frozen out of international bodies because of pressure by Beijing. The Taipei-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation (CWBF) said BirdLife International voted last week to remove it, ending a partnership that had been in place since 1996. CWBF said it was informed that its Chinese name -- which contains Taiwan's official title the Republic of China -- "posed a risk" to the UK-based BirdLife. The group, which had previously changed its English name to satisfy BirdLife, said it had been willing to accommodate further amendments, but was told to sign a … [Read more...] about Taiwan bird group blames political flap for ejection from global network
BRADFORD, England: The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has just been approved for widespread use in the UK and the government has ordered 40 million doses – enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The first 800,000 doses are expected to be delivered to the UK in the next few days. The Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines also appear to be close to gaining approval by regulatory authorities. READ: UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use, first in the world The vaccines promise billions of people around the world a return to normality as the pandemic is brought to an end. After the great effort put into developing and testing these vaccines, another huge task lies ahead: The logistics of vaccine distribution. A SUPPLY CHAIN LIKE NO OTHER This is the biggest vaccine supply chain challenge ever, but the challenges are not new. By bundling the knowledge and experience of the public and private sectors and humanitarian organisations, the vital supply chain for COVID … [Read more...] about Commentary: So the vaccines are here, but how will they get to billions across the globe?
It started with CryptoKitties. In December 2017, the dopey-looking cartoon cats, created by Canadian company Dapper Labs, debuted as tradable collectibles, like Pokémon cards for the bitcoin era. Each image was associated with a unique string of digits—a cryptocurrency “non-fungible token,” or NFT—that could be traded on the Ethereum blockchain platform as a title deed granting the holder ownership of a particular kitty. The trading game quickly caught on among the crypto-initiated, so much so that CryptoKitties-related transactions clogged and slowed down Ethereum. That was eventually solved—and that was, for most people, the last they heard of CryptoKitties. But the process the goggle-eyed cats set off did not end there. Its end point is an auction that started on Thursday, in which a token associated with a digital collage of 5,000 images by graphic designer Beeple went under the hammer at auction house Christie’s. Cryptocurrency payments were of course accepted. NFTs … [Read more...] about NFTs Boom as Collectors Shell Out to ‘Own’ Digital Art
SINGAPORE: For many Singaporean students, pursuing an overseas university education sounds like a dream come true. A few years spent in a foreign country, making friends from all over the world, studying the subject of your choice in a prestigious institute. Each year, thousands of Singaporeans pursue this dream. Between 2017 and 2018, 7,020 students from Singapore studied in the UK, according to data collected across universities there. However, COVID-19 has undermined that dream. Travel restrictions could mean getting to your preferred university may be challenging, if not impossible. Coming back to Singapore for vacations will probably involve a 15-day period of isolation. Classes may be conducted remotely. There are likely to be limits on social activities. With studying overseas much more expensive than attending a university in Singapore, some might consider whether the current circumstances make pursuing the dream worthwhile. But not everyone is thinking like that. … [Read more...] about IN FOCUS: Has COVID-19 killed the appeal of studying overseas?