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Poor countries not getting vaccines will extend length of COVID pandemic

Poor countries not getting vaccines will extend length of COVID pandemic
Oct 21 2021 Share

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic will drag on for a around a year longer than it needs to just because poorer countries are not getting the vaccines they need. The vaccine inequity, senior leader at WHO Dr Bruce Aylward says, will force the pandemic deep into 2022. Less than 5% of Africa’s population have received their shot, compared to around 40% of most other continents. Many other countries have pledged to donate vaccine shots, but the vast majority of vaccines overall have been used in high-income or upper-middle income countries. 

The original idea behind Covax was to assure that all countries got vaccines from its pool. However, most G7 countries decided to hold back once they started making one-to-one deals with pharmaceutical companies. This lead to Africa currently accounting for just 2.6% of doses administered globally. Charity groups such as Oxfam and UNAids have criticised countries such as Canada and UK for procuring vaccines for their own populations. 

Wealthy countries are being appealed to in order to give up their places in the vaccine queue in order that pharmaceutical companies can prioritise the lowest-income countries instead. The UK received 539,370 Pfizer doses earlier this year, with Canada taking under just a million AstraZeneca doses. The UK however, delivered 10 million doses out of the total 100 million promised. 

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Photo Source: Devex

‘Smoking Kills’ could be printed on every single cigarette in UK

‘Smoking Kills’ could be printed on every single cigarette in UK
Oct 21 2021 Share

As governments and organisations put pressure to stop people from smoking, the latest measure which has seemingly caught some popularity is printing ‘Smoking Kills’ on every single cigarette. Such phrases and images of the effects of smoking are a common sight on the packets, but a health care bill is currently going through parliament at the moment with MPs attempting to make such shocking images of patients mandatory. Individual cigarettes themselves could be getting quotes such as ‘Smoking Causes Cancer’ and ‘Smoking Kills’. 

Leading the charge is Labour MP Mary Kelly Foy, claiming that such messages on every cigarette could be really effective. Acknowledging how cigarettes kill half the people that use them, she is hoping that health warnings on them could deter people from being tempted to smoke, especially youth. The Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians support the move, believing it could contribute to getting less than 5% of people in England smoking by 2030. 

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Photo Source: University of Stirling

Malta grieves loss of beloved confectioner Croce Bonaci

Malta grieves loss of beloved confectioner Croce Bonaci
Oct 21 2021 Share

The unfortunate passing of Croce Bonaci, owner of renowned Bonaci Caterers, sent many Maltese grieving. His son Shawn Bonaci posted to social media announcing the passing, revealing that Croce Bonaci passed away ‘peacefully today surrounded by his loving family. […] Fly High Legend.’ 

Bonaci was the owner of a Valletta confectionary run by a family which has been involved in the bakery business ever since 1885. Their entrepreneurial history spans back to World War II, with the business surviving the loss of a factory during an air raid. 

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It was announced in September that Croce had discovered he was suffering from an aggressive brain tumour, with his wife, Connie, speaking out about the experience during Dar Bjorn 2’s recent marathon. Tributes poured in following the announcement, with politicians, restaurant and Valletta community groups, and many others expressing their condolences. 

Rest in peace Croce. You will be missed. 

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Photo Source: Croce Bonaci FB

€11,000 worth of contraband cigarettes seized by Customs in 2021 so far

€11,000 worth of contraband cigarettes seized by Customs in 2021 so far
Oct 21 2021 Share

Customs have revealed that around 78kg of illegal smokeless tobacco and 53,259 heels tobacco seeks have been seized by Customs in the past 9 months. In their continuous fight against contraband products, 389,900 cigarettes have been seized between January and September of this year. 

This amounts to €11,359 in market value, with the endangered taxes of the lot amounting to €65,430 in excise duty. €14,868 amounted in VAT and €6,276 amounted in import duty. 

When it comes to tobacco, 20kgs of the substance was confiscated. Amounting to a total market value of €467, excise duty amounted to €676, VAT to €295, and import duty to €2727. 

During the first nine months of this year, 78kgs of smokeless tobacco and 53,259 pieces of heels tobacco were also confiscated. As per Legal Notice 67, both tobacco products are illegal in Malta. 

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Photo Source: Communications Customs