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Georgian PM signs application for EU membership******
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Thursday signed the application for European Union membership on behalf of the country, calling it a "historic day" in his address to citizens.
"It is a historic day for Georgia. Application for EU Membership is yet another milestone on the path of European integration of Georgia," said Garibashvili, stressing that the accession of Georgia into a common European family has been a long dream for Georgian people.
The Prime Minster's move follows Wednesday's statement by Irakli Kobakhidze, the ruling Georgian Dream party chairman, that the country will "immediately" apply for fast-track EU membership.
The application will soon be submitted to the EU, according to the Georgian official.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday also signed an official appeal for the European Union asking for an accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure.
Too early to tell whether Omicron sub******
An Australian senior health official has said that a new COVID-19 sub-variant circulating in Australia is not yet causing concern among health experts.
Michael Kidd, deputy chief medical officer of Australia, on Monday said the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, which was detected in Australia in December, may become the dominant sub-variant of Omicron based on some reports.
He said they were not seeing more severe disease associated with this sub-variant, and "it's also too early to tell" if there is any significant different impact on the effectiveness of the vaccines against this sub-variant.
"If this BA.2 sub-variant is shown to have more distinct clinical characteristics then the World Health Organization may determine, that it becomes a variant of its own, but it is too early to speculate on that, and we're not seeing indications of that at the moment," Kidd told reporters in Canberra.
Australia on Monday reported more than 30,000 locally-acquired coronavirus infections and 44 deaths – 27 in New South Wales, eight in Victoria, six in South Australia and three in Queensland, according to health department figures from states and territories.
More than four million additional Australians became eligible for booster vaccines on Monday, with the recommended interval between second and third doses being cut from four to three months.
Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that the government is preparing for the possibility of fourth vaccine doses for elderly and vulnerable Australians if needed.
"Most likely advice at this stage is that if there were to be a fourth dose it's more generally going to be focused on older Australians and immuno-compromised Australians, and perhaps those working in- with vulnerable patients," he said in the press conference with Kidd.
"So that's still under active medical consideration, but the supplies and logistics are in place to deliver that if it's required."
Brazil dominates opening day of Junior Pan American Games******
CALI, Colombia, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Brazil won 10 gold medals on the opening day of the Junior Pan American Games in the Colombian city of Cali on Friday.。
The tally included four victories in swimming, two in judo, two in skateboarding and one apiece in taekwondo and triathlon. Brazil also clinched five silver medals and five bronze.。
The country's first gold medalist of the Games was Miguel Hidalgo, who won the men's triathlon in 56 minutes and 44 seconds, ahead of Mexico's Eduardo Nunez and Ecuador's Cesar Criollo.。
"I didn't have a great start on the bike but I was able to keep calm to win the race," Hidalgo said. "It makes me happy that even though I faced a lot of challenges I was able to stay in control."
The United States finished the day second on the medal table with seven gold, three silver and eight bronze while Colombia was third with seven gold and 10 bronze.。
Other countries to feature at the top of the podium on the first day of competition were Mexico (four golds), Argentina (four golds), Chile (three golds), Cuba (three golds), Venezuela (two golds), Dominican Republic (two golds) and Ecuador (one gold).。
The host nation's first gold medal of the games went to weightlifter Estiven Villar, who lifted 274kg - including 125kg in the snatch and 149kg in the clean and jerk - in the 61kg category. Hampton Morris of the United States secured silver with 267kg while Venezuelan Fabian Marquez took bronze with 263kg.。
Around 3,500 athletes from 41 countries and regions are competing in the inaugural edition of the Junior Pan American Games, which comprises athletes aged 17 to 22. Enditem。