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China offers Covid vaccine insurance to win over jab sceptics

China has devised a new incentive to boost elderly vaccinations to levels that could finally allow the country to relax its zero-Covid strategy and revive the economy: insurance packages for people worried about jab-related side effects.

Dozens of cities across the country have begun offering people aged 60 and older free insurance that pays out up to Rmb500,000 ($75,000) if they fall ill — or worse — because of Covid-19 vaccines.

The packages also promise payouts to families if it can be proven that a loved one’s death was related to receiving a jab. In Beijing alone, about 60,000 seniors have signed up for the coverage since April.

As in other countries, a large number of people in China harbour doubts about the safety of the vaccines despite a lack of evidence of a high risk of serious side effects.

But government officials and the country’s strictly controlled media shy away from discussing even routine side effects, which can include shortlived fevers, soreness and other relatively mild reactions.

This has, paradoxically, created a vacuum in which unsubstantiated rumours about alleged links between vaccines and serious diseases such as leukaemia and type 1 diabetes have spread widely on Chinese social media.

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Amber Heard will appeal verdict in Johnny Depp case, lawyer says

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A day after a jury found that Amber Heard defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp and awarded him $15 million in damages, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft told multiple morning shows that the actress intends to appeal the verdict.

“Oh, absolutely,” Bredehoft responded on Thursday heard-s-attorney-speaks-out-verdict-is-a-significant-setback-141295685920″when NBC’s “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie asked if Heard wanted to appeal. “And she has some excellent grounds for it.”

On Wednesday, a seven-person jury in Fairfax County ruled largely in Depp’s favor, agreeing with the actor that Heard harmed his reputation when she wrote a 2018 Washington Post op-ed (which did not name Depp) that said she became a public figure representing domestic abuse, two years after she had filed for divorce and a restraining order. In addition, the jury found that Depp, through his lawyer Adam Waldman, defamed Heard in one of three statements that called her accusations a hoax and awarded her $2 million.

Bredehoft said that Heard was “heartbroken” after the verdict. “One of the first things she said is, ‘I am so sorry to all those women out there,’ ” the lawyer said, adding that the verdict sends “a horrible message.”

“It’s a setback, a

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Supreme Court blocks Texas social media law

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stopped a Texas law that would regulate how social media companies police content on their sites, while a legal battle continues over whether such measures violate the First Amendment.

The vote was 5 to 4. The five in the majority — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — did not provide reasoning for their action, which is common in emergency requests.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch, said he had not made up his mind about the constitutionality of the law, but would have allowed it to go into effect while review continues. Justice Elena Kagan also would have let stand for now a lower court’s decision allowing the law to take effect, but she did not join Alito’s dissent or provide her own reasons.

Two Washington-based groups representing Google, Facebook and other tech giants filed the emergency request with the Supreme Court on May 13. The Texas law took effect after a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit lifted a

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