While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 10

Biden mandates widespread Covid-19 shots, tests

President Joe Biden on Thursday took aim at vaccine resistance in America, announcing policies requiring most federal employees to get Covid-19 vaccines and pushing large employers to have their workers vaccinated or tested weekly.

The new measures, which Biden laid out in remarks from the White House, would apply to about two-thirds of all US employees, those who work for businesses with more than 100 workers.

“We’ve been patient,” Biden told the millions of Americans who have declined to get coronavirus shots. “But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”

Taken together, the policies and speech represented Biden’s most aggressive steps yet to prod Americans resistant to getting shots amid a surge in Covid-19 cases from the fast-spreading Delta variant.


First flight from Afghanistan since evacuation lands in Qatar

The first international commercial flight since the end of last month’s chaotic Western airlift from Afghanistan left Kabul airport on Thursday with more than 100 passengers on board, officials said.

As well as offering hope to people still stranded in Afghanistan and fearful of the new Taliban government, the event marked an important step in the Islamist group’s efforts to bring a degree of normality back to a country facing economic collapse and a humanitarian crisis.

“We managed to fly the first plane with passengers just an hour ago,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said in Islamabad, thanking Taliban leaders for helping reopen the airport.


Moderna working on Covid-19 vaccine, flu shot combo booster

Moderna said on Thursday it is developing a single vaccine that combines a booster dose against Covid-19 with its experimental flu shot.

The company hopes to eventually add vaccines it is working on for respiratory syncytial virus and other respiratory diseases as an annual shot.

During a presentation to update investors on its drugs in development, Moderna also provided updates on its ongoing mid-stage trial testing its authorised Covid-19 vaccine in children aged six months to 11 years old.


Bennifer have arrived! Affleck and Lopez in Venice for filmfest

Looking radiant and holding hands, singer Jennifer Lopez and actor Ben Affleck arrived for the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, getting into a water taxi to be whizzed off to their luxury hotel in the lagoon city.

Affleck is in Venice for the festival premiere of Ridley Scott’s medieval epic The Last Duel, which also stars his close friend Matt Damon.

Once in the water taxi the couple had a brief cuddle as Affleck put his arm around Lopez.


Athletics: Thompson-Herah ends stellar season on a high

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah finished off her golden year on a high when she won the 100 metres title in the season-ending Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday.

Thompson-Herah followed up her Olympic 100 and 200 metres double in Tokyo by coming within 0.05 seconds of Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old 100 metres world record in a Diamond League meeting two weeks ago.

Although she was unable to better the record in the season finale, Thompson-Herah took the title in a time of 10.65 seconds ahead of Briton Dina Asher-Smith.


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