Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of Jan. 30, 2022.
Where we are with the hyped Metaverse, and what challenges companies and governments will need to surmount to actually make the Metaverse work.
A subvariant of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected. While better at evading the body’s defenses, its unknown how severe or infectious the new subvariant actually is. The subvariant was found mostly in cases Denmark and has spread to the UK and parts of Asia.
The Asteroid-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), funded by NASA, can now scan the entire night sky every 24 hours. This system can now give up to a full days’ warning for a 20-meter-wide asteroid and up to three weeks’ warning with 100-meter-wide asteroids.
The International Monetary Fund is requesting the government of El Salvador remove Bitcoin as legal tender for the country’s bonds and currency due to the high risks and volatility of the currency.
Taiwan’s vice president, William Lai, is traveling to Honduras to shore up ties with the government following the election of Xiomara Castro. Castro had floated the idea of reestablishing ties with China but recently walked those ideas back.
Anti-vaccine protestors marched in Ottawa on Saturday, desecrating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the process. The Canadian Trucking Alliance believes many of the protestors have no connection to trucking as the majority of the Alliance’s members are already vaccinated.
South Africa is building out an indigenous vaccine production site that will produce both foreign and domestically created vaccines for COVID and other pathogens and distribute them throughout the continent within the next few years. Other countries on the continent are in various stages of developing sites for local vaccine production.
Almost 40% of the population of Tigray is suffering extreme hunger according to the World Food Programme. The Amhara and Afar regions are also suffering from severe hunger.
Burkina Faso has been suspended from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after a recent coup in the country removed democratically elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, citing his failure to stem ongoing violence in the country. Delegations will meet with the military coup leaders later next week.
Explainer: Ukraine Crisis and NATO.
U.S. president Joe Biden is sending some troops to Eastern Europe to bolster NATO forces in the region in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The EU is bringing a case against China to the World Trade Organization. Beijing retaliated economically against Lithuania for the country allowing Taiwan to open a diplomatic outpost in Vilnius.
Thailand and Saudi Arabia reestablished diplomatic ties.
Iraq could lose 1/3 or arable land and 20% of the nation’s water resources by 2050 due to climate change.
Lebanon will not disarm Hezbollah but has pledged not to allow the country to be used as a safe haven for groups to launch attacks or activities that harm other Arab states in the region. Neighbors have called on Lebanon to help fight the regional drug trade.
Indian company BrahMos Aerospace inks deal with the Philippines government for the sale of BrahMos shore-based anti-ship supersonic missiles. Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are also in various stages of engagement with the company regarding missile deals.
Almost a year since the military of Myanmar overthrew the democratically elected government.
According to an investigation by the New York Times, the Modi Administration purchased Pegasus spyware from the Israeli NSO group in 2017 to spy on civilians.