Pfizer announces ‘highly effective’ pill to combat COVID

class=”MuiTypography-root-228 MuiTypography-h1-233″>Pfizer announces ‘highly effective’ pill to combat COVIDThe WorldNovember 5, 2021 · 1:30 PM EDT

The exterior of Pfizer in Groton, Conn. Pfizer Inc., March 2, 2012.

Elise Amendola/AP/File photo

Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Pfizer has announced that its antiviral pill Paxlovid is highly effective at preventing severe illness among at-risk people who take the drug soon after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. It’s the second of its kind, and could be even more effective than a similar pill offered by Merck, which is still awaiting authorization in the United States. Pfizer says Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% when taken within three days of the start of symptoms, and that the treatment could become available in the next few months.

Saudi Arabia
The US State Department approved its first major arms sale to Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. The Pentagon plans to send 280 air-to-air missiles valued at up to $650 million. Congress has been critical of the war in Yemen, and has refused to approve many military sales for the kingdom without assurances that the equipment wouldn’t be used to kill civilians. Biden had promised to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state during his campaign, and has been criticized for not holding Riyadh accountable for the death of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi and other human rights abuses.

Ethiopia’s Tigray forces say they’re joining with other armed and opposition groups in an alliance against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to seek a political transition in the country, following a year of devastating war. The alliance of nine groups, including Tigray forces and the Oromo Liberation Army, was signed in Washington on Friday, and comes as US special envoy Jeffrey Feltman is meeting with senior government officials in the capital Addis Ababa. Meanwhile, allied forces fighting against the central government have said they're "weeks to months'' away from entering the capital, claiming they’re now in control of a town just 99 miles away.

From The WorldThis teen climate activist is blazing a new path to raise environmental awareness in China

Chinese environmental activist Howey Ou in St-Laurent, Lausanne, Switzerland.



Teen climate activist Howey Ou is considered China’s Greta Thunberg, taking to the streets to speak out about climate change. But in a country where speaking up comes with big risks, Ou’s path is often a lonely one.

Professional tree planting: 'It's a combination between industrial labor and high-intensity sport'

An image of a professional tree planter hard at work in British Colombia.


Courtesy of Rita Leistner/"Forest for the Trees"

Filmmaker and photographer Rita Leistner, who started planting trees professionally more than 20 years ago, says the work is "brutal." Her latest project brings her back to tree planting in the form of a book and documentary called "Forest for the Trees." She explained the rigors of tree planting to The World's host Marco Werman. 

"An average tree planter burns about 8,000 calories a day. So, that's about the equivalent of running 2 1/2 marathons in terms of caloric output. And you're doing this day in and day out. And that is because you're carrying this heavy weight, you're climbing up and down," Leistner said.

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Bright Spot

We say "hanging in there" quite often, especially when we've been asked, "how are you doing?" during the pandmic. Have you wondered how people around the world express the state of being OK, but not great? Host Marco Werman called up some of our foreign correspondents to find out. 🎧

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        In case you missed itListen: US diplomat and hostage negotiator heads to Myanmar

In this photo issued by the Myanmar Military True News Information Team, former US ambassador and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (left) meets with State Administration Council Chairman, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 2, 2021.


Myanmar Military True News Information Team/AP

Veteran US diplomat and hostage negotiator Bill Richardson traveled to Myanmar this week, raising hopes for the release of American journalist Danny Fenster, who's been detained by the military junta for five months. And thousands of Afghans are still trying to flee Afghanistan or are somewhere en route to a new home. The US and Canada have historically been the world's two leading countries for refugee resettlement, but they've struggled to meet the needs of this group. Also, in Russia, the number of daily COVID-19 cases and deaths have increased across the country, with new record highs in both categories. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a nationwide nonworking period to curb the spread of the virus.

Don't forget to subscribe to The World's Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.

Oil giant Saudi Arabia says it wants to get to net-zero emissions by 2060. But critics question its roadmap.

class=”MuiTypography-root-133 MuiTypography-h1-138″>Oil giant Saudi Arabia says it wants to get to net-zero emissions by 2060. But critics question its roadmap.

Saudi Arabia’s economy was built on oil. Now, faced with growing global pressure to replace fossil fuel with cleaner energy, the kingdom has announced plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2060.

The WorldNovember 3, 2021 · 4:45 PM EDT

In this photo provided by the Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, greets US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry during the Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 25, 2021.

Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP

In the lead-up to COP26, the UN climate summit underway in Glasgow, Scotland, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman announced that the country will reach zero emissions by 2060.

He said that Saudi Arabia will reduce its carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy using carbon capture technologies and by planting 10 billion trees.

But some analysts question Saudi Arabia’s proposed methods to get to net-zero by 2060.

Related: Why COP26 is the ‘last, best hope’ for fighting climate change 

“They set these dates far into the future on purpose because it means that the people who issue them probably won’t be in power by the time that they approach,” said Ellen Wald, author of “Saudi Inc.: The Arabian Kingdom's Pursuit of Profit and Power,” adding, “So, I take a lot of these things with a grain of salt.”

Wald said the Saudis are arguing for a relatively slow approach to addressing climate change because they say they need oil money to invest in cleaner energy and they need time to figure out new ways to run their economy.

They have already done some of that work through the country’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to diversify the economy.

Last week, leaked documents revealed that the Saudis have been lobbying to water down a landmark UN climate report.

“Saudi Arabia repeatedly seeks to have the report’s authors delete references to the need to phase out fossil fuels, as well as an IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] conclusion that there is a ‘need for urgent and accelerated mitigation actions at all scales,’” the report says.

The country even objects to the IPCC’s use of the word “transformation,” to describe emissions reduction pathways to meet the Paris agreement’s goals to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the report goes on to say.

According to the leaked documents, other countries such as Argentina, Australia and Brazil had tried to influence the report as well.

Related: US credibility on climate on the line in Washington

Wald said the report is significant because once it's issued, it becomes the baseline for negotiators to reference. "So, if they can get that language out of the report, then it doesn’t become the baseline." 

The Saudis also point out, Wald said, the continuing global demand for oil.

“[The Saudis] believe that if we start to phase out fossil fuels at this point, then there will be countries, particularly developing countries in Africa, that are left in the state of energy poverty.” 

Ellen Wald, author of “Saudi Inc.: The Arabian Kingdom's Pursuit of Profit and Power”

“[The Saudis] believe that if we start to phase out fossil fuels at this point, then there will be countries, particularly developing countries in Africa, that are left in the state of energy poverty,” Wald explained.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter; oil and gas make up roughly 90% of its revenue.

“The Saudi economy and the Saudi political system are almost totally dependent on oil exports,” said Jim Krane, an energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. 

For years, Gulf monarchies, including Saudi Arabia, he said, have relied on oil to build political support at home and maintain influence abroad.

So now, as the world starts to look to a future beyond fossil fuels, the kingdom finds itself in a real bind.

Related: Discussion: Climate change and a deepening global health crisis

“The ruling family in Saudi Arabia sees climate action as a threat not just to its economy but to its existence as a monarchy,” Krane said.

As part of its plan to reduce emissions, Saudi Arabia has put forward goals like capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground or recycling it, a technique called “circular carbon economy.”

“The idea of a circular carbon economy is that the carbon will go around in circles and as a result there is a component here which is taking carbon out of the atmosphere and burying it deep underground,” said Karim Elgendy, a fellow with the environment and society program at Chatham House in the UK. “And that component is still very expensive and the maturity of these technologies to become commercially viable is not expected before 2040.”

As for the idea of planting trees in Saudi Arabia, Elgendy wonders where the water is going to come from.

“The question is, can it be done in a sustainable way that is good for the ecosystems and good for climate at the same time?” he said.

The Saudi initiative focuses only on emissions inside its borders. So, any oil that gets shipped elsewhere goes unaccounted. 

Elgendy sees the Saudi initiative as part of a broader, regional shift toward a cleaner energy policy.

Related: Ghana's vegetable sellers see produce dwindle due to climate change

“The Middle East and North Africa region has not only jumped on the climate bandwagon but it also wants to control the steering wheel for that bandwagon and move it in a way that suits it better,” he said.

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and Bahrain have all put forward their own climate plans.

That’s because leaders in these countries, Krane said, are realizing that they, too, are on the front lines of climate change.

“These are some of the hottest places on Earth,” Krane said. “We’re seeing new high temperatures in the Middle East, really dangerous temperatures. So, losing air conditioning will be like a mass casualty event.”

What is clear though, is that oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have no immediate plans to stop pumping oil.

“As long as the world needs hydrocarbons, we will be supplying hydrocarbons,” Mariam Almheiri, the UAE’s minister of state for climate change and environment, said in an interview with Bloomberg last week.

“We can’t just switch off the tap. This is an energy transition,” she said.

​euro – Talk 2 Me Crazy Lyrics

Play this song

[Intro: Euro]
Oh yeah
Uh, uh, uh
No me hables así

[Chorus: Euro]
Don’t talk to me crazy, yeah, be there in the mornin’
I’m havin’ a ball, get with you tomorrow, yeah
I’m goin’ crazy, no one can fade me
Look what it made me

[Verse 1: Euro]
Shit’s amazin’, comin’ from basement
Look at their faces, look at ’em changin’
Life is amazin’, look at this change and
Imagine it’s caged in, imagine us (Uh)
Imagine us anywhere other than this
I don’t wan’ talk about people I miss
Same time a shooter is takin’ a hit
I’m in the studio makin’ a hit
She in the mirror just makin’ a fit
I’m in the game and I’m makin’ this quick
How many more do they think I’ma get
How many more and I’m takin’ this shit
I’m from somewhere far away
Keep the police far away
She said, “Put that scarf away
Don’t you put your scars away”
I need woman all the day
Think I’m Jigga, modern day
Even after we just ate
We still out here huntin’ prey

[Break: Euro]

[Chorus: Euro]
Don’t talk to me crazy, yeah, be there in the mornin’
I’m havin’ a ball, get with you tomorrow, yeah
I’m goin’ crazy, no one can fade me
Look what it made me

[Verse 2: Lil Wayne]
Don’t talk to me brazy
That’s chalk on the pavement
I’m ballin’ you savin’
My daughter is dating’, please, my nigga, don’t talk to her crazy
I’m saucin’, I’m gravy
And I don’t need no favors
And I park the Mercedes, right on the pavement, and skate with my skaters
And you sorry, you hatin’
She from Saudi Arabia
And her homie from Asia, oh my God, they naughty by nature
Doctor Evil, Doctor Strange
And Doctor Jekyll, and Mister Hyde, they call me a patient
Damn, I’m caught in the matrix
Damn, I’m horny and wasted
Damn, that’s fornication
Damn, don’t talked to the agents
I don’t fuck twelve, but they call me Tom Brady, so I ball like the Patriots
I sent you to Hell, and you should tell Satan that I’m the real Satan
And it’s young moola baby
Don’t drive down the way, baby, the weapons is drawn
I got the eraser, I’m rockin’ these lasers, the watch and the bracelets
My lil’ mama do vapor
But you don’t want smoke, you talk to me crazy, I’ma go crazier

[Chorus: Euro, Lil Wayne, & Both]
Don’t talk to me crazy (Yeah), yeah, be there in the mornin’ (Euro)
I’m havin’ a ball (Yup), get with you tomorrow (Yeah, yeah), yeah
I’m goin’ crazy (Yeah, yeah), no one can fade me (Yeah, yeah)
Look what it made me (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah), look what it made me

[Outro: Euro]
Look what it made me
Look what it made me
Look what it made me

Famous Dex – Play it Cool Lyrics


[Verse 1: Flexx Lugar]
Ay, babe my guns from Russia
Fucking yo bitch she love it
Come to my crib for comfort
Taking a trip out the country
Flying her way out to Sicily
Buying her Gucci in Italy
Bitch too tight it’s not fitting me
I don’t know what you been dealing with
I never been out to France, Balmain the pants, dope in the pants
I am not holding your hand
I gotta, I gotta, I gotta uh
I gotta run up the bands
Watch for the feds in the van
I think they know who I am

[Chorus: Flexx Lugar] x2
I’ma play it cool, you know what I do
I’ma break the rules, that ain’t nothing new
I’ma count these bands, Ima come through there
I’ma ice my hand, that ain’t nothing new

[Verse 2: Famous Dex]
(what) I run through the money need more (ooh)
Baby girl love me everytime how she fuck me
My baby girl you know she a whore (she is)
I ran through the money I’m countin the bands (ooh)
The pint you know I just scored (I did)
AP 80K (it’s what?)
I fucked your bitch ya you late
Wait, bustin up right on her face (Dexter)
Bobbin nigga beat the case (the what?)
Getting money every day (huh), sippin lean to the face
I get the money I swear it’s no break (Dexter)
Pullin Lambo flex (go flex), Diamonds right up on my neck
Hold up, I get that lil pussy wet
I got that money I bought me a jet

[Chorus: Flexx Lugar] x2
I’ma play it cool, you know what I do
I’ma break the rules, that ain’t nothing new
I’ma count these bands, Ima come through there
I’ma ice my hand, that ain’t nothing new

[Verse 3: Flexx Lugar]
You cannot hang in this area
Even though I was just fucking your girl
You could go head and go marry her
We do not stay at the Marriot
Trappin in Saudi Arabia
Diamonds they lookin so crazy, ya
I don’t know what I’ma say to ya
You should just stay out my radius
I just [?], flipping them 0s, fucking them hoes
I got some blood on my clothes
[?] that shot me a foe
I just be pourin a four
Then I be poppin a xan
While I be poppin my bands, damn

[Chorus: Flexx Lugar] x2
I’ma play it cool, you know what I do
I’ma break the rules, that ain’t nothing new
I’ma count these bands, Ima come through there
I’ma ice my hand, that ain’t nothing new