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Kosovo’s President Resigns To Face War Crimes Charges In The Hague

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Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, who was a leader during the country’s war for independence, has resigned in order to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in The Hague.

Thaci announced his resignation at a news conference on Thursday and said he was quitting to protect the integrity of the presidency of Kosovo.

Thaci commanded fighters in the Kosovo liberation army during the 1998-1999 war.

Thaci and nine others have been accused of committing “nearly 100 murders” and other atrocities against “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo, Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities” and political opponents.

Thaci was questioned over his role in the 1990s conflict by prosecutors in The Hague for the first time in July at the specialist chamber set up in The Hague in 2015 to handle cases of alleged crimes by KLA fighters during the war that eventually led to Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

The Hague-based court is governed by Kosovo law but is staffed by international judges and prosecutors.

The war, which came to an end after NATO-led air raids, left more than 10,000 dead.  Authorities are still unable to account for more than sixteen hundred persons.

Health News

Germany Recommends Oxford COVID Vaccine Not Be Used On Over-65s

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German authorities citing a lack of sufficient data to recommend the use of Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in older age groups have issued a recommendation that it should not be used on people aged 65 or above,

The move comes ahead of a ruling by the European Medicines Agency on the vaccine on Friday. AstraZeneca and the vaccine’s developers have consistently said it is safe for older adults.

Germany’s vaccine committee said “there are currently insufficient data available to assess the vaccine efficacy from 65 years of age.

In the resolution made available by the German health ministry on Thursday the committee added that “the AstraZeneca vaccine, unlike the mRNA vaccines, should only be offered to people aged 18-64 years at each stage.”

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Health News

COVID-19 Could Become ‘Much More Treatable’ In Next Six To 18 Months, NHS Boss Tells MPs

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Head of England’s National Health Service, Sir Simon Stevens says there is a possibility for a combination of the coronavirus and flu jabs in a single vaccine for future winters.

Stevens told MPs on Tuesday COVID-19 could become a “much more treatable disease” in the next six to 18 months.

He said the emergence of new coronavirus treatments in the second half of this year offers hope of a “much more normal future.”

More than six and a half million people in the UK have received the first dose of a covid-19 vaccine, with nearly half a million having had a second jab.

The government says it plans to offer of a coronavirus vaccine first dose to 15 million people by the middle of next month.

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World News

New Zealand’s Borders Remain Shut Indefinitely

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New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern has announced the country’s borders will remain closed for most of this year.

Ardern says medical authorities may approve a COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week.

The prime minister says for travel to restart, authorities would either have the assurance those vaccinated don’t pass COVID-19 on to others, which is not yet known, or enough of the population needed to be vaccinated so people can safely re-enter the country.

Ardern says apart from Australia, the rest of the world simply poses too great a danger to the country’s health and economy to take the risk at this stage.”

The prime minister says the country’s medicines regulator, MedSafe, was working towards granting provisional approval for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.

The first vaccines are due to arrive in New Zealand by the end of the first quarter.

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