FDA Advisory Board Rejects Widespread Booster Injections From Pfizer
WASHINGTON – An influential federal advisory group overwhelmingly rejected a plan on Friday to offer Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to strengthen protection people in the midst of the highly contagious delta variant.
The vote of the external expert panel convened by the Food and Drug Administration was 16 to 12, with members expressing frustration that Pfizer provided little data on the safety of additional doses. Many have also expressed doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than those targeted at specific groups.
In an extraordinary move, FDA officials and the panel indicated they were likely to hold a second vote on Friday afternoon on recommending booster shots for older Americans and other high-risk groups. .
This would help save some of the campaign from the Biden administration, but would still be a big step backwards from the radical plan proposed by the White House a month ago to offer booster shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to almost all Americans eight months after their second dose.
France recalls its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for a sub-agreement
PARIS – France said on Friday evening it was immediately recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after Australia abandoned a large purchase of French conventional submarines in favor of nuclear submarines built with American technology .
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a written statement that the French decision, at the request of President Emmanuel Macron, “is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.
Weather slows wildfires near California giant redwoods
THREE RIVERS, Calif .– Cooler weather on Friday helped teams try to keep California wildfires away from a grove of gigantic ancient redwoods, including the world’s tallest tree, nestled in a national park.
Unlike the raging wildfires that burned large swathes of the drought-stricken western United States this summer, the fires in Sequoia National Park were not explosive. The flames were about a mile from the famous Giant Forest, a grove of some 2,000 massive redwoods on a high plateau in the Sierra Nevada.
“Growth has been slow,” said Katy Hooper, fire information officer.
Lower temperatures and a blanket of smoke covering the area smothered the flames.
Firefighters placed fire-resistant aluminum wrap around the base of the General Sherman tree, the world’s largest by volume at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters), along with other trees and buildings.
He said Wednesday’s announcement of Australia’s submarine deal with the United States was “unacceptable behavior between allies and partners.”
Earlier Friday, a senior French diplomat spoke of a “crisis” in relations with the United States
The diplomat, who spoke anonymously in accordance with usual government practice, said that for Paris “this is a strategic issue concerning the very nature of relations between Europe and the United States in the subject of the Indo-Pacific strategy ”.
Pentagon backs off, calls deadly Kabul strike a mistake
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon withdrew from its defense of a drone strike that killed several civilians in Afghanistan last month, announcing Friday that a review found only civilians were killed in the attack, not a extremist of the Islamic State as it was initially believed.
“The strike was a tragic mistake,” Marine General Frank McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, told a Pentagon press conference.
McKenzie apologized for the mistake and said the United States was considering paying reparations to the families of the victims. He said the decision to hit a white Toyota Corolla sedan, after following it for hours, was made in a “sincere belief” – based on a standard of “reasonable certainty” – that it posed an imminent threat. for the American forces securing the Kabul airport. The car reportedly carried explosives in its trunk, he said.
For days after the August 29 strike, Pentagon officials claimed it was carried out correctly, despite the deaths of 10 civilians, including seven children. News organizations then cast doubts on this version of events, noting that the driver of the targeted vehicle was a long-time employee of a US aid organization and citing the lack of evidence to support the Pentagon’s claim that the vehicle contained explosives.
The airstrike was the latest in a US war that ended as it began in 2001 – with the Taliban ruling in Kabul.