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Vax declared Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year

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Vax has been chosen as the word of the year by lexicographers at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), said a BBC dispatch yesterday.

Words related to vaccines have spiked in frequency in 2021 due to Covid, with double-vaxxed, unvaxxed and anti-vaxxer all seeing a surge in use.

OED senior editor Fiona McPherson says vax was an obvious choice as it has made “the most striking impact”.

“It goes back at least to the 1980s, but according to our corpus it was rarely used until this year,” she said.

“When you add to that its versatility in forming other words – vaxxie, vax-a-thon, vaxinista – it became clear that vax was the standout in the crowd.”

Vax and vaxx are both accepted spellings but the form with one x is more common.

Use of the word pandemic has also increased by more than 57,000% this year.

Oxford Languages and Collins each decide their own word of the year, and in 2020 Collins chose “lockdown”.

But Oxford decided it was an unprecedented year with too many contenders, so expanded its award to encompass a handful of newly key words including lockdown, bushfires and Covid-19, as well as Black Lives Matter, WFH [working from home], keyworkers and furlough.

This year’s Oxford-winning word, vax, was first recorded in English in 1799, while its derivatives vaccinate and vaccination both first appear in 1800.

All of these words ultimately come from the Latin word vacca, which means cow. According to the OED, this is due to English physician and scientist Edward Jenner’s pioneering work on vaccination against smallpox using cowpox – a mild infection that occurs in cows – in the late 1790s and early 1800s.

Oxford Languages says its corpus, or language resource, gathers news content which is updated daily and contains over 14.5 billion words for lexicographers to search and analyse.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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