More Countries Pause Use of AstraZeneca’s Vaccine
Countries continued to shy away from the AstraZeneca vaccine Friday, a day after Demark, Norway and Iceland said they would halt its use while European drug regulators examine the possibility of a link to blood-clotting issues. The moves come despite continued support for the vaccine from global health authorities. Bulgaria on Friday said it would temporarily suspend inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine after the death of a woman a day after she received a shot, although an autopsy did not find any traces of blood clots. Thailand delayed its rollout of the vaccine, which was to begin Friday. The move does not affect Thailand’s rollout of the Sinovac vaccine.
Body Found in Southeast England Is Sarah Everard’s, Police Say
A body found this week in a wooded area in southeast England has been identified as Sarah Everard’s, police said Friday, ending days of uncertainty over the fate of the 33-year-old marketing executive who disappeared in south London last week. Her disappearance touched off an outpouring of solidarity and anger against gender violence in Britain. “Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave has sadly confirmed the body found in the woodland in Kent has been identified as Sarah Everard,” the Metropolitan Police said on Twitter. A police officer was arrested this week in Kent, and is being held in custody on suspicion of kidnapping, murder and, in a separate incident, indecent exposure.
Italy to Tighten Lockdown Restrictions Next Week
Italy’s government said Friday that coronavirus restrictions would be severely tightened across much of the country starting Monday and that the entire country would be under lockdown over Easter weekend to beat back surging infections amid a slow vaccine rollout. The office of Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, announced the measures, which will force more than half of Italy’s population into lockdown. Starting Monday, health authorities will shut down schools, restaurants and many shops in most northern regions as well as the regions of Rome and Naples. People will also be restricted from leaving their homes except for work, health care visits and emergencies.
Former Bolivian Leader Says She Faces Arrest for Ouster of Morales
Bolivia’s former interim president, Jeanine Añez, said Friday that she and several allies face arrest following the issuance of a warrant accusing her of terrorism and sedition in connection with the 2019 ouster of former President Evo Morales. “The political persecution has begun,” wrote Añez on Twitter, alongside an image of the warrant. Bolivia’s attorney general declined to confirm the authenticity of the document. By Friday afternoon, two of the 10 individuals listed on the warrant had been apprehended by authorities: former energy minister Rodrigo Guzmán and former justice minister Álvaro Coimbra, according to Gina Hurtado, an aide to Guzmán.
A Green Wave? Mexico’s Marijuana Market May Be Middling
Mexico is poised to take a major step in drug policy. This week, the lower house of Congress approved a landmark bill to legalize recreational marijuana, which would make it the world’s largest legal market for the drug. With legalization considered all but certain to win Senate and presidential approval, many in the business world are predicting a Mexican green boom. But many business analysts and economists caution that the cannabis industry is more likely to be a green blip than a boom, citing relatively low domestic demand and little chance of exporting the product, as well as seemingly restrictive regulatory measures.
Australian Minister Settles Defamation Complaint for ‘Lying Cow’ Remark
Australia’s defense minister Friday settled a defamation complaint and agreed to pay damages to a former aide whom she called a “lying cow” after the woman reported being raped in the Parliament building. Lawyers for the former aide, Brittany Higgins, sent a letter last week to the minister, Linda Reynolds, demanding a public apology for the comment. On Friday, Reynolds retracted the comment, which, she said, she had “never intended” to make public. Higgins said last month that she had been assaulted by a co-worker in the minister’s office two years ago, while she was working as a media adviser for Reynolds.