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Promising updatePfizer Inc and BioNTech said new clinical trial data signalled that their COVID-19 vaccine could protect against the new coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa. The vaccine remains more than 91% effective against disease with any symptoms for six months, the companies also said. Once-in-a-generationPresident Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion spending plan that is, in his words, "a once-in-a-generation investment in America." The $2.3tn proposal would direct billions to initiatives such as charging stations for electric vehicles and eliminating lead water pipes. Dismantling democracy Hong Kong’s “father of democracy” Martin Lee and media mogul Jimmy Lai were among a group of opposition activists found guilty for attending an unauthorized protest in 2019. After waves of pro-democracy protests, Beijing is increasingly adding pressure on the city's rights and freedoms. Another shootingFour people, including a child, were killed in a shooting at a business complex in Orange, California.President Biden vowed to take "common-sense steps" to crackdown on firearms, renewing his call to ban assault weapons and end loopholes in background checks.