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tv   DW News  LINKTV  March 16, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PDT

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berlin. is this a u-turn on the astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine? the european union's top medical regulators says the vaccine is safe. there is no indication that the shot is the cause of reported where blood clots. also sounding the alarm over child murders in mozambique. vicious militants are beheading children, some as young as 11.
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and a british prime minister boris johnson announces plans to boost britain's nuclear arsenal. is this necessary deterrence, or a breach of international law? ♪ brandy: i am brent goff. to our viewers on pbs in the united states and to of the around the world, welcome. tonight the european union's medicine regulator says it is firmly convinced the benefits of the coronavirus vaccine outweigh the risk of any possible side effects, this after a number of european countries abruptly halted vaccinations with the short amid reports of blood clots. the european agency says there is no indication that astrazeneca was shot caused the clots, but it has added it will continue to study the vaccine for potential were side effects.
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>> hastily arranged online news conference at the european medicines agency in amsterdamres engulfing the e.u.'s troubled vaccination campaign. more than a dozen member states have suspended use of the astrazeneca vaccine over concerns it could cause blood clots. >> while the investigation is on going, we are firmly convinced that the benefits of the astrazeneca vaccine in preventing covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalization and death outweigh the risk of the side effects. there is no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions. they have not come up in clinical trials, and they are not listed as known or expected side effects with this vaccine. reporter: germany, france, italy and spain have all stopped administering the vaccine.
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that move has been widely criticized. having failed to procure enough doses, the e.u. is already well behind others like the united kingdom, the united states, and israel inocuted its population. >> this is a race against time, so the rollout of the vaccination is more than ever key in order to decrease the number of infected people. we recognize the significant and regrettable challenges around production and liveries, but we do however urge member states to use all available doses. reporter: but some welcome the suspension. the the stop was a way decision. we need transparency and knowledge and ensure people that the vaccine is safe, then we can decide whether to release the vaccine again.
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regulators will unveil the findings of their review of the astrazeneca vaccine on thursday. policymakers are hoping the investigation will increase confidence in the vaccine. but with anti-vax sentiment already running high in many member states, raising the alarm might have already had the opposite effect. brent: let's take this now to our brussels correspondent. good morning to you. we have got the european union medicines regulator saying there is no indication that the astrazeneca vaccine has caused these reported blood clots. does this put an end to the matter? georg: i would say, yes and no. no because the investigation is, as we speak, going on case-by-case evaluation of the scientific data coming in from number states. yes, maybe because they european medicines agency was clear in its explanation that the
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benefits outweigh the risks. my feeling is that even if they do establish a link in those particular cases, their recommendation to member states would still be to continue to use the particular vaccine because it saves many lives in this pandemic. brent: of course it still doesn't help explain what we have seen here, with some countries saying there is a danger, others saying there isn't a danger. is it possible that other health officials in countries where astrazeneca has been suspended, is it possible that they know more than they are letting on? georg: that is an interesting question. if you look at the member states that have suspended the use of the vaccine for astrazeneca, they have barely coordinated that step. and if you believe german health authorities, amid clear that the cases they are looking at, apparently a total of seven cases in germany, it is a particular form of blood clot in
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the brain, thrombosis, a very rare symptom. the occurrence of this particular blood clot is above average. it is occurring apparently particularly regarding young women. we have to be careful with that information, because that is exactly what the european medicines agency will now look at in order to decide that this is a real link or just a coincidence. brent: so what are we looking at here? is it just a case where we have a difference of opinion between the national authorities and the european medicines agency? is it just as simple as that? georg: it is of course of little bit of better irony but the officials are fighting with astrazeneca to release the vaccines they were promised. currently just 40% of tho vaccines. at the same time national member states are suspending the use of
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that vaccine. but this is how the e.u. works. it is a clump of states and the european medicines agency makes recommendations and member states are in charge of the health of their citizens. they made clear they have suspended the use of that vaccine to protect citizens, but also to bolster public confidence that they will make sure their citizens are safe now and in the future. brent: dw's georg matthes, thank you. let's take this now from policy and politics, to the science and medicine. i am joined by lawrence young, professor of molecular oncology in work university in the united kingdom it is. great to have you on the program. what do you make of these countries in the european union suspending the use of the astrazeneca vaccine? lawrence: it is a rather bizarre decision, when eurozone
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regular has insisted t vaccine is safe and were all the data we have so far across the united kingdom and europe suggests that the rate of blood clot development in vaccinated individuals is no different from the unvaccinated general population. so i think it is a worry to pause vaccination, particularly at a time when infections are rampaging through europe. brent: what could justify a decision like this? obviously, it sounds like these health minister's in these countries, they know something that the rest of us do not. you agree? is that plausible? laence: at is a possibility. where you do see any adverse side effects, it is important they are vaccinated. everything to do with vaccines and medicines is about balancing risks. and covid itself as a disease is
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much worse than any of the side effects reported for any of these vaccines. brent: some people have said maybe there is actually no science behind this decision, and maybe it was just a herd mentality here. one country begins suspending the use of the vaccine, and that others follow suit. what do you say to that? lawrence: well, that is a distinct possibility. we know that in different countries, the culture is quite different about vaccine hesincy and anxiety, and it doesn't take much for one country to make a decision, one member state, and for others to think they should follow suit. what they are doing in the process is putting their population at risk, as i said before, the risk of not having the covid vaccination far outweighs the risks and side effects of the vaccination. it is worrying that something like 8 million doses of this
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vaccine are sitting around in refrigerators, across europe not going into people's arms where it could protect them from the disease. brent: that is a very good point. . as of sunday think it was 8 million doses waiting to be injected into people's arms. you are correct. lawrence young, professor of molecular oncology, we appreciate your time and your insights. thank you. let's get a look now at some of the other developments in the pandemic. the united kingdom has found two new cases of brazil's coronavirus variant, bringing the total of reported cases in britain to 12. moderna has started vaccine trials on children between the ages of six months and 12 years. and the drugmaker pfizer says it will deliver an additional 10 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to the european union over the next three months. germany's leading infectious disease institute says virus cases are rising exponentially
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as a third wave of the pandemic groups the nation. rising infection rates are endangering plans to anti-lockdown. one city has been experimenting with a model that could help businesses reopen while also keeping people safe. >> in tubingen in western germany, an on the spot corona test could be the ticket to go shopping. today saw the start of a pilot project which also would allow theaters, cultural institutions, and restaurants with outside areas to open your doors -- four there doors. >> i think this model is even more important now because vaccinations take much longer and infections rise. it is pretty clear there will be no option but to shut everything down, and i want to avoid that if at all possible. reporter: there are several testing stations throughout the city, of first attempt to bring back a sense of normalcy. but is it possible to get tested, go shopping, and keep
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the numbers from rising? >> at the moment we can't use the astrazeneca vaccine. we don't have high levels of protection, so we really have to be careful about the numbers here. because we can't just open the city for business and let new cases skyrocket. reporter: the university hospital of tubingen is supervising the project, which should see 10,000 tests carried out each day. >> we hope to see very early on, to what extent the numbers are affected by the reopening of shops. reporter: there is still hope life will return to the city and businesses will survive. whether the project can be a game chaer will depend on the number of new infections. brent: let's take a look now at some of the other stories making headlines around the world. an interim government has assumed power in libya, reacing two warring
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administrations that had split the country. the new prime minister, seen in the middle, was approved last week by the long-divided parliament. the new government will oversee national elections scheduled for december hundreds of. demonstrators have closed streets in protest against the lebanon crisis. the lebanese pound is trading at around 15,000 to the u.s. dollar, a record low and in 90% drop since the crisis began two years ago. lebanon relies on foreign loans for its basic goods. u.s. vice president kamala harris has vowed to fight to improve democracy and women's rights. she delivered her first speech to the u.n. today in new york. america's first female vice president says democracy can be strengthened by involving more women in decision-making. now to mozambique, where children have become the target of vicious militants, as the
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country battles and islamist insurgency. a new report for -- from the eight agency "save the children" says children as young as 11 have been beheaded. as violence there continues to displace thousands, families are reporting horrifying scenes of murder and loved ones disappearing. dw's adrian kriesch. reporter: we are traveling to kirimba island where the united nations food program is planning aistribution. but our boat's journey ends at the halfway point. the tide is going outo we have continue on foo the area is dangerous. there e still regular attacks by islamist insurgents. we have been tracking about half an hour now. we don't know how far it is,
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hopefully two hours. leus seeow the rest continues. we have been on the road for three hours through the sea and the mangroves. then we meet the first locals. finally we reached the remote island which was attacked by terroristss last year. they looted the village and murdered two people. when we reached the food distribution venue, the head of administration tells us the terrorists also kidnped 30 children. this woman's 16-year-old daughter is one of the missing children. . she disappeared without a trace. >> these people arjust people. they come from far away, take away our children and even tell us why or what they want. am sad. i am angry. i just don't understand. issa was there when the daughter was kidnapped.
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he almost ended up in the same situation himself. >> [speaking foreign language] >> they said, we are taking you with us to our camp. we will training and teaching to shoot. but two girls and myself managed to escape. after they said he wanted to make the boys into soldiers, what did they say to the girls? >> they said, we ll make th our wives. reporter: so far, tre has been no international outcry. because the news still hasn't gotten out of the island. without electricity or a telephone network almost one year on. many residents livin fear of another attack. not a single soldier has been stationed here to protect them up to now earlier we spoke to chance briggs, director of save the children in mozambique, and we asked about the children who are being targeted in this conflict.
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ance: we are finding children and their families being chased from their compounds and villages and in many cases, it is quite violent. in some cases, even children are being killed. there are even reports of beheadings of children as young as 11, 12 years o. it sickens us to our core, because children have no role in the conflict. they are innocent. these stories bring us to tears. that why target children? we're just not sure. in other conflicts we have seen in our trainable, they can be obedient and easy to control, so in some cases may be children are being targeted to join the forces. we know of stories of, when they refuse, they are killed. we know stories of 10 children being killed altogether because they refused to join the insurgents. what is happening is a tragedy and inconceivable. . so we are calling on all parties to stop the war on children, whether it is mozambique or
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yemen or nigeria, we must stop the war on children. . having said that, we believe peace is possible. peace is what will protect t children. the mozambique government has demonstrated in the past a willingness and ability to negotiate. they have signed peace deal's and treaties. we believe that should be possible in this conflict as well. brent: that was chance briggs with save the children in mozambique. in a plan to ensure its national security, the united kingdom is planning to lift it cap when it's nuclear warhead stockpile. prime minister johnson unveiled the post-brexit defense and foreign affairs strategy today. he also announced improvement that britain will pivot its focus towards asia. the prime minister, meanwhile, reaffirmed britain's loyalty to nato. the defense alliance says it is committed to nuclear disarmament. >> britain will remain unswervingly committed to nato and preserving peace and security in europe.
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and from this secure basis, we will seek out friends and partners wherever they can be found, yielding a coalition for openness and innovation and engaging more deeply in the indo-pacific. brent: for more now, i am joined by oliver meyer from the institute for peace, research and security policy in berlin. good to have you on the program. what is going on here? does the british foreign minister feel that the united kingdom needs to increase its nuclear deterrence? oliver: obviously the united kingdom is reassessing its nuclear policy. it has decided to change course. just six years ago, the strategic defense -- decided to cut nuclear warhead numbers. the united kingdom wanted to go down to 180 nuclear weapons. now it is becoming the first western state to announce that it is increasing nuclear warheads and once to have up to
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260 nuclear weapons. brent: does this increase violate any nuclear nonproliferation treaties or regulations? oliver: the united kingdom has committed and or the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, to reduce the number and the role of nuclear weapons, and other nuclear weapons states too. it is clearly, at least in letter, violating that political coitment. there is also an obligation to work towards the goal o a nuclear weapons-free world. that is hard to reconcile with this decision. it is putting at odds als with the commitment by nato, to work towards a world free of their weapons, and it is coming at a time when the u.s. administration and the president joe biden, is taking new steps to reduce nuclear weapons -- it just extended the new start
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treaty with russia. russia once the united kinom and france to be part othe xt treaty. the united states wants china to become a party. now comethis announcement to increased reliance on nuclear weapons and increase the number of nuclear weapons, so it sits at odds with international commitments. brent: how do you think the allies of the united kingdom will react to this news? oliver: difficult to say. it will be a difficult discussion, i would imagine. in nato, this comes at a time when nato is embarking on discussions on a new strategic concept of control -- arms control may be a part of that discussion. nato has also committed to not mirror russian nuclear policy. that is difficult to say. it has always pointed fingers and china and said,
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looked, china is increasing its arsenal but we are not, we are moving in a different direction or at least keeping stable. that argument will be harder to make. so it is making it more difficult for weern states to argue that they are the good ones in this game. it is really not quite clear what the military and strategic rationale is for increasing warhead numbers. frankly, it doesn't make such a big difference whether you have 200 or 260 nuclear weapons. brent: that is a good point. oliver from the institute of peace research and security policy, we appreciate your time and your insights tonight, thank you. oliver: you are wcome. brent: and look now at some of the other stories making headlines this hour. a russian media regulator plans to block twitter within the next month if twitter fails to delete and content. the action is thought to be related to demonstrations supporting jailed opposition leader alexei navalny.
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the influential sister of north korean leader kim jong-un has warned the united states and south korea over their joint military exercises. she warned of consequences that could make washington, court, " lose sleep." it comes as top biden officials the guinness visit to seoul and tokyo. and foreign minister of israel frank-walterteinmeier has been holding talks here in berlin with his counterpart reuven rivlin. relations between germany and israel were on the agenda. the duke of edinburgh, britain's prince philip, has been released from the hospital in london after a montlong stay. the husband of queen elizabeth ii was treated for an infection and thenad to have heart surgery. prince philip is 99 years old. here in europe, the czech republic is among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.
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the per capita infection rate is the highest in the world, and the pace of vaccinations has been extremely slow. dw reports, town where the virus has inflicted an especially heavy toll. reporter: the streets of this town are silent. there are no children at the elementary school. local shops are closed. with new coronavirus variants raging across the czech republic, this is one of the country's worst affected regions. the deputy mayor tries to keep track of the numbers. he says everyone here knows someone who died of covid-19. >> i realized many of those who died were people my age or even younger. i realized i would never see them again to go fishing or watch soccer or have a beer. that really gets to you.
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reporter: in the local health center, the first responders tell us they feel totally overwhelmed and frustrated. there is no hospital in town. that means patients with severe cases of covid-19 have to be transferred to a clean big 50 kilometers away. magdalena says sometimes she doesn't have the energy to wake up and go to work. the emergency doctor recently lost her father tohe pandemic. >> because i am a doctor, i was allowed to say good by to my dad and stay with him until the very last moment. [cries] >> i don't want anyone to have to see what is going on in covid wards where patients suffocate even when they are given oxygen. they are in pain. you cannot imagine that. brent:.
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reporter: exhausted front workers, residents in resignation, all this while the pandemic rages on a across the region. the border has been closed with germany. this has disrupted the lives of many cross-border commuters. some have even lost their jobs. >> i need a job. i am trying to find one, but no one wants me. it is tough. >> it is taking too long. people want jobs. they have to pay their bills. unfortunately, this is the reality. reporter: tachov's deputy mayor is pinning his hopes on vaccine. even though so far, vaccinations are only taking place here once a week. meanwhile, dr. magdalena janchova pulls are together every single day so she can keep doing her job, hoping that one day soon, the pandemic will be
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over. brent: sports news now. zlatan ibrahimovic is calling his return to international football for the first time in five years, "the return of the god two that 39-year-old stryker place for milan and has been included in sweden's squad for two upcoming world cup qualifiers. he scored 62 goals for 116 games in sweden. if he plays, he will become the national team's oldest player -- as well as a god. . after a short break, i will be back to take you through the day. . stick around. we will be right back.
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>> it is 9:00 p.m. in paris. these are the headlines. europe's medicines watchdog says it will release the findings into reports of severe side effects from the astrazeneca vaccine. that report will, later this week. for decades is the start of the syrian conflict we take you to meet some of the millions of people who have been displaced and who have started over in a new country. an archaeologist and israel discovered dozens of fragments of biblical text in a cave. they are thought to be 2000 years old. ♪

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