World to ring in New Year under Covid cloud

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The world prepared on Friday to usher in 2022, after another tumultuous and pandemic-ridden year capped by new restrictions, soaring case numbers, and a slight glimmer of hope for better times ahead. The eventful last 12 months saw a new US president and a new Adele album, the first spectator-free Olympics, and dreams of democracy from Afghanistan to Myanmar to Hong Kong crushed by authoritarian regimes. But it was the pandemic — now entering its third year — that again dominated life for most of humankind. Over 5.4 million people have died since the coronavirus was first reported in central…

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