HELSINKI, Nov 23 ()-- The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) updated its recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years of age.
Going forward, offering vaccines to healthy children ages 5 to 11 is no longer recommended because they are at very low risk of severe illness from COVID-19, said Hanna Nohynek, THL's chief medical officer.
According to the updates, the health authority recommends vaccines against COVID-19 for children from five to eleven years of age only if they belong to risk groups.
People between the ages of six months and four years who belong to risk groups should be vaccinated under individual medical control, the health authority said in a press release on Wednesday.
"Children of this age who have an underlying disease that may predispose them to severe COVID-19 illness may benefit from the basic COVID-19 vaccine series," the THL said.
Vaccination recommendations for children and adolescents 12 to 17 years of age remain unchanged. ■
Two Palestinians died on Wednesday from wounds sustained by Israeli soldiers shooting around the northern West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a press release.
Mohammad Herzallah, 30, died four months after being wounded in an Israeli army raid on Nablus in July.
The statement said Herzallah suffered serious head and chest injuries and died at a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He underwent several surgeries, which failed to save his life.
The other victim, 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Keshek, died from critical injuries sustained Tuesday night during clashes with Israeli soldiers near Joseph's Tomb near the city of Nablus.
The clash broke out when a group of Israeli settlers guarded by Israeli soldiers came to the tomb in the city of Nablus to pray, according to local sources and eyewitnesses.
Since March, the Israeli army has been carrying out daily raids against Palestinian towns and cities, mainly in the Jenin and Nablus areas of the northern West Bank.
According to Palestinian figures, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of January, while 30 Israelis were killed in a series of attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank. ■
- U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 16.4 million barrels per day (b/d) for the week ending November 18, 258,000 b/d higher than the previous week's average , according to a weekly report issued Wednesday by the US Energy Information Administration.
Refineries operated at 93.9 percent of their operating capacity last week, compared with 92.9 percent the week before, according to the Weekly Petroleum Data report.
During the same period, gasoline production fell and distillate fuel production grew, averaging 9.2 million b/d and 5.1 million b/d, respectively.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week to 431.7 million barrels, about 5 percent below than the five-year average for this time of year.
Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.1 million barrels from last week, about 4 percent below the five-year average for this time of year.
Last week, both finished gasoline inventories and blending component inventories increased. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.7 million barrels during the same period, about 13 percent below the five-year average for this time of year.
Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels since last week, 10 percent above the five-year average for this time of year. Total commercial oil inventories increased by 3.3 million barrels last week.
Total products supplied during the latest four-week period averaged 20.7 million b/d, up 0.1 percent from the same period last year.
Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplies averaged 8.7 million b/d, down 7 percent from the same period last year.
Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 4.0 million b/d over the past four weeks, down 3.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied decreased 2.4 percent compared to the same four-week period last year. ■
- The Sudanese health authorities announced on Wednesday the registration of 26 cases of death due to an outbreak of dengue.
Montasir Mohamed Osman, head of the health emergency and epidemic control directorate at Sudan's Ministry of Health, said in a statement that there have been 26 deaths, 462 confirmed cases and 3,439 suspected cases of dengue in 9 states. Most of the cases were reported in North Kordofan, West Kordofan and North Darfur.
The ministry has taken the necessary measures, including sending teams to combat the disease carrier in the states, providing medicines and blood, conducting daily monitoring and investigation operations, as well as assigning a contact number for reports of infections and suspected cases, he added.
The United Nations announced that 1,068 cases of dengue have been reported in Sudan since October.
Dengue fever, with clinical symptoms of high fever, headache, soreness in the bands and muscles, and even bleeding from the gums and nose when it becomes severe, is a mosquito-borne infection found in regions tropical and subtropical regions of the world. ■
- Although Germany's gas storage level reached 100 percent last week, Europe's largest economy is still struggling to achieve long-term energy independence after decades of heavy reliance on imports.
German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck called this a "mistake" by previous administrations and now the country faces the immediate challenge of getting enough fuel to avoid blackouts over the winter.
However, in the long term, Germany will have to conclude multiple new energy partnerships and achieve energy independence by investing in renewable energy.
HIT BY THE ENERGY CRISIS
A large net importer of energy with 70 percent coming from fossil fuel and uranium imports, Germany was hit particularly hard by the energy crisis in Europe. As of early 2022, Russia was still providing Germany with more than half of its coal and natural gas supplies along with 34 percent of oil supplies.
After Russia's gas supply to Europe via the crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline was already cut off in early September, both Nord Stream 1 and 2 were damaged and rendered inoperable by a series of explosions that caused gas leaks. underwater at the end of September 2022.
Due to the "increased uncertainty amid the current situation", Germany's largest energy provider E.ON further reduced the value of its stake in Nord Stream 1. The company's 15.5 percent stake it was devalued to only 100 million euros (103 million US dollars). ), below 500 million euros at the end of June.
Having declared the 'Level 2: Alert Level' of the gas emergency plan, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), the German regulatory office responsible for electricity and gas, has been busy safeguarding pre-winter gas supplies and storages. now they are full.
As part of energy-saving measures, minimum room temperatures have been lowered, monuments are no longer lit, and the country's million private pools and jacuzzis will have to remain unheated during the winter. The BNetzA stressed the need to reduce consumption by at least 20 percent.
INEVITABLE POLICY CHANGES
Before this energy brinkmanship came into play, Germany had a stated goal of phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and decommissioning all nuclear plants by the end of 2022. However, the government had to do a U-turn in nuclear power and coal. -fired power plants to protect your power supplies and address an immediate shortfall.
After internal disputes within the governing coalition, Chancellor Olaf Scholz intervened and allowed the three German nuclear plants to continue generating electricity through the winter until April 15, 2023.
While there have been short-term successes in gas storage, Germany is looking elsewhere to shore up gas supplies to end its energy dependency. To diversify imports, Habeck quickly began gas supply talks with Norway, Canada and the United States.
Germany has also signaled its interest in discussing a natural gas pact with the United Kingdom (UK) with a view to including a mutual bailout clause in case of shortages during an extreme cold snap. The UK's long coastline is a "geographical advantage when it comes to infrastructure for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG)," BNetzA boss Klaus Mueller recently told The Guardian.
INDEPENDENCE THROUGH RENEWABLES
The extension of the useful life of nuclear and coal power plants could be seen as a setback for Germany's environmental plans. Habeck, however, now sees an accelerated expansion of renewable energy capacity as a vital tool for achieving energy independence and climate protection.
As the share of renewable energy increases, Germany will reduce its need to import energy. The government aims to cover all of the country's electricity needs with renewable energy by 2035, five years ahead of the original target. Already by 2030, the share of wind and solar power will roughly double from current levels to 80 percent.
All these plans, however, are of little help today.
Although gas storage facilities are now full and Germany has security-of-supply agreements throughout the European Union (EU), an extreme cold snap would test the public's resolve to reduce energy consumption. Blackouts could be avoided, but the supply situation remains "extremely tense," German power transmission network operator Amprion said.
With the destruction of sections of the Nord Stream oil pipelines, it is clear that the country will not have the option of returning to its historical energy structure. Until renewables are ready, the diversification of energy supplies will become an increasingly pressing issue. (1 euro = 1.03 US dollars) ■
- The United Nations is grateful for Germany's troop commitment as it becomes the latest country to announce the withdrawal of its peacekeepers from Mali, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said the world body took note of the German government's decision to end its troop commitment to the mission, known as MINUSMA, by May 2024, subject to the approval of the Bundestag.
Germany joins a growing list of countries announcing the withdrawal of their peacekeeping forces from troubled MINUSMA.
"The United Nations continues to discuss with member states the deployment of new assets and plans to fill older gaps in addition to those resulting from recent announcements," Haq told reporters at a regular briefing.
He said MINUSMA has made commitments for the deployment around March next year of armed helicopter units from Pakistan and Bangladesh and a third utility helicopter unit from India.
"These provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians," the spokesperson said. "Discussions about possible additional contributions from other troop-contributing countries are ongoing."
On Monday, Haq acknowledged that Mali had security problems and the sacrifices of peacekeepers as many lost their lives. ■
- A senior World Bank official on Wednesday urged Lebanon to adopt an equitable banking solution to its financial crisis using a bailout strategy as the country is short of public funds.
"As has been repeatedly called for, Lebanon urgently needs to adopt an equitable and comprehensive solution that will restore stability to the financial sector and put the economy on a recovery path," said World Bank Regional Director Jean-Christophe Carret, cited by the institution's statement. .
Carret's comments came on the occasion of the release of the World Bank's Lebanon Economic Monitor (LEM), with the fall 2022 report calling for equitable sharing of financial losses through the use of what he called a bailout solution.
"The LEM argues that with financial losses exceeding US$72 billion, equivalent to more than three times (Lebanon's) GDP in 2021, a financial sector bailout is unfeasible because there are simply not enough public funds," the LEM said. statement, alleging that the rescue is not equitable either.
An internal recapitalization strategy, according to the World Bank, is more protective for taxpayers and small depositors mainly affected by the crisis and, together with comprehensive structural reforms, "is the only realistic option for Lebanon to turn the page on its unsustainable model. development," he said.
The report estimated that Lebanon's real GDP will contract by an additional 5.4 percent in 2022, "assuming political paralysis continues and no recovery strategy is implemented."
It also revised up the estimated contraction in real GDP for 2021 to 7 percent. ■
- Both US crude oil imports and exports increased during the week ending November 18, the US Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.
US crude oil imports averaged 7.063 million barrels per day (b/d) last week, up 1.504 million b/d from the previous week, while crude oil exports averaged 4.242 million b /d, 380,000 b/d more than the previous week. week, according to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report.
Over the past four weeks, US crude oil imports averaged around 6.32 million b/d, up 1.5 percent from the same four-week period last year.
During the same period, US crude oil exports averaged about 3.888 million b/d, up 27.4 percent year-on-year.
The United States has been one of the world's top oil producers in recent years helped by the growth of its shale oil production. ■
- US crude oil production averaged 12.1 million barrels per day (b/d) during the week ending November 18, unchanged from the previous week, the Oilfield Administration said Wednesday. US Energy Information (EIA).
The figure is up 600,000 b/d from this time last year, according to the EIA.
More than 80 percent of US crude oil production growth comes from the lower 48 states, which does not include production from Alaska and the federally offshore Gulf of Mexico, according to the report.
The United States has become a major oil producer in recent years helped by the growth of its shale oil production. ■
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) on Wednesday expressed concern over deadly explosive remnants of war in Libya, urging Libyans to be aware of the danger.
"This week, another child tragically lost his life when he found and played with a grenade left behind by the warring parties in the conflict. His two brothers, who were close to him, were seriously injured," the UN agencies said in a statement. .
"UNICEF and UNMAS are deeply concerned by the continuing loss of civilian life, especially children, from explosive remnants of war, and urge all Libyans to be aware of the risks," the statement said.
UNICEF and UNMAS are working with Libyan mine action partners to provide explosive ordnance risk education to people to raise awareness of the dangers and risks of mines and unexploded ordnance, the statement added.
“We call on all armed actors to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and put in place measures to protect civilians, particularly children,” said Michele Servadei, UNICEF representative in Libya.
"At least 39 people have been killed or injured this year in incidents involving explosive remnants of war," said Justin Smith, head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Mine Action Programme.
According to the Humanitarian Response Plan, 505,486 people are currently at risk from mines, unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war, the statement said.
In April 2019, a violent war between the eastern-based army and the former UN-backed Government of National Accord broke out in and around the capital Tripoli, lasting for more than a year, killing and injuring many civilians. and causing great destruction in the city.
Libya has been suffering from insecurity and chaos since the fall of late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011. ■