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Italy, Portugal to fight for a World Cup berth******
LONDON, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Reigning European champions Italy and 2016 European champions Portugal could lock horns for a 2022 World Cup spot as they were drawn into the same path in the play-off on Friday.。
The 12 teams from UEFA were drawn into three paths with the winner of each path to reach the Qatar World Cup finals.。
Italy will face North Macedonia first in Path C while Portugal will play against Turkey. The winners will meet in one of the three play-off finals held on March 29.。
In Path A, Scotland will host Ukraine while Austria will visit Wales. The semifinals in Path B are Russia vs Poland and Sweden vs Czech Republic.。
Ten teams have already qualified for the World Cup finals after finishing top in each group in the European qualifiers. They are Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. Enditem。
Olympic Flame for Beijing 2022 Winter Games lit in Ancient Olympia******
ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic Flame that will be burning for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games was ignited on Monday at the birthplace of the Games in Ancient Olympia, Greece.
During the traditional ceremony, actress Xanthi Georgiou in the role of an ancient Greek High Priestess used a concave mirror to focus the sun's rays and light a torch before the 2,500-year-old Temple of Hera, a goddess in ancient Greek mythology.
At the end of the ceremony, the High Priestess will hand over the flame to the first torchbearer, Greek skier Ioannis Antoniou, inside the stadium which hosted the first Games centuries ago.
A total of three torchbearers will relay the torch in Ancient Olympia. Former Chinese short track speed skating athlete Li Jiajun is the second runner.
Following a short symbolic torch relay, the flame will be transferred to Athens to be passed over on Tuesday to the organizers of Beijing 2022.
The XXIV Winter Olympics will take place from February 4 to 20, 2022, followed by the Paralympics. Enditem
Study finds Omicron variant can partially escape immunity induced by Pfizer vaccine******
A laboratory research has suggested that the Omicron variant can partially escape antibody immunity induced by the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.。
The research, led by professor Alex Sigal from the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, has been submitted to medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences.。
The research confirms predictions that the large number of mutations in the spike protein and elsewhere on the Omicron variant would translate into some evasion of the immune response induced by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.。
Sigal said on Twitter Tuesday that his lab tested blood from 12 people who had been vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and found that there was a 41-fold decrease in the ability of antibodies from the vaccine to neutralize the Omicron variant.。