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Israel Minister to Discuss Pegasus Scandal in France Visit

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Israel Minister to Discuss Pegasus Scandal in France Visit

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz will meet his French counterpart in Paris this week for talks that will include an “update” on the Pegasus spyware scandal, his office said Tuesday.

A ministry statement said Gantz will leave Wednesday for talks with French Defence Minister Florence Parly on topics including the crisis in Lebanon, nuclear negotiations with Iran and the Pegasus malware made by Israeli firm NSO, which was allegedly used to target President Emmanuel Macron.

Pegasus, which is able to switch on a phone’s camera or microphone and harvest its data, is at the centre of a storm after a list of about 50,000 potential surveillance targets were leaked to human rights groups.

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Israel’s defence establishment has set up a committee to review the firm’s business, including the process through which export licenses are granted.

Pegasus’s list of alleged targets includes at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 business leaders.

However, NSO insists its software is only intended for use in fighting terrorism and other crimes, and says it exports to 45 countries.

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Foreign

WHO Recommends 1st Preventive Therapy For Patients At High Risk

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WHO Germany, France to Give COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Despite Calls for Pause by WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has for the first time recommended a combination of drugs to prevent severe COVID-19 disease in infected high-risk patients.

The WHO published its new recommendations in the British Medical Journal on Friday.
The WHO referred to studies indicating a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab by the U.S. company Regeneron and the Swiss company Roche can improve patients’ chances of survival.

WHO now recommends the administration of casirivimab and imdevimab for coronavirus patients with previous illnesses who run the risk of falling seriously ill with Covid-19 and face treatment in intensive care units.

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The WHO urged manufacturers and governments to address the high price and limited production of the Regeneron antibody combination. Adding that negotiations are being held with Roche on matters to lower prices, possible donation and fair distribution around the world.

An aid organisation, Doctors Without Borders, reported that Regeneron has already filed patent applications in at least eleven poorer countries. The aid organisation called on the Regeneron company to refrain from enforcing patents in poorer countries.

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Rwanda President Visits Troops Fighting Mozambique Insurgency

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Rwanda President Visits Troops Fighting Mozambique Insurgency

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Friday began a two-day visit to Mozambique’s insurgent-hit north, where he has sent 1,000 troops to help local soldiers fight jihadist militants.

Rwanda in July was the first of several African countries to provide reinforcements to Mozambique’s army, overwhelmed by an insurgency in its gas-rich Cabo Delgado province linked to the Islamic State.

Kagame landed in the provincial capital Pemba on Friday morning, the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency tweeted in the Kinyarwanda language. One of the activities planned during his two-day visit will be meeting the armed forces and police “sent to Cabo Delgado to restore peace”, it added.

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Foreign forces have helped Mozambique regain ground since militants launched a coordinated attack on the port town of Palma in March, offsetting multi-billion-dollar gas projects and raising international concern.

The European Union has meanwhile set up a military mission for Mozambique to help train its armed forces. Jihadist militants have been wreaking havoc in Cabo Delgado since 2017, raiding villages and towns in a stated bid to establish an Islamic Caliphate.

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COVID-19

U.S Approves Pfizer COVID Booster for The Elderly and High-Risk

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U.S Approves Pfizer COVID Booster for The Elderly and High-Risk

The U.S has authorised the administration of boosters of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine for people aged over 65, as well as adults at high risk of severe disease and those in high-exposure jobs.

The announcement means a significant part of the US population – amounting to tens of millions of Americans – are now eligible for a third shot six months after their second.

The decision was expected and came after an independent expert panel convened by the regulatory agency last week voted in favour of recommending the move.

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The panel, however, rejected an initial plan by the white house to fully approve Pfizer boosters for everyone aged 16 and over, in what amounted to a rare rebuke of President Joe Biden’s administration.

Pfizer Covid-19 boosters are currently being debated by a separate body of experts convened by the centers for disease control and prevention, which may recommend further specifics about recipients of the vaccine.

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