Omicron ‘sub-variant’ throws up new virus questions


BA.2 has yet to be designated a variant of concern — but Flahault says countries have to be alert to the latest development as scientists ramp up surveillance. Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP

Scientists are keeping a close watch on a recently-discovered sub-variant of the Omicron version of the Covid-19 virus to determine how its emergence could effect future pandemic spread.

The initial Omicron variant has become the dominant virus strain in recent months but British health authorities have notably identified hundreds of cases of the latest version, dubbed BA.2, while international data suggest it could spread relatively quickly.

https://www.thelocal.no/20220122/omicron-sub-variant-throws-up-new-virus-questions/

Taliban hold talks with woman activists on first day of Oslo talks


Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during an interview with AFP in Kabul on January 22, 2022. Mohd Rafsan/ AFP

The first Taliban delegation to visit Europe since returning to power in Afghanistan began talks Sunday with Afghan civil society members focused on human rights, Norway’s foreign ministry said.

Headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, the delegation was to dedicate the first day of their three-day visit to talks with women activists and journalists, among others, before meeting Western diplomats on Monday and Tuesday.

https://www.thelocal.no/20220123/taliban-hold-talks-with-female-activists-on-first-day-of-oslo-talks/