November 28, 2021
Currently: 78° — Complete forecast
Published Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 | 7:07 p.m.
LONDON (AP) — The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. The U.K. on Saturday tightened its rules on mask-wearing and on testing of international arrivals after finding two cases. New cases were confirmed Saturday in Germany and Italy, with Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong also reporting that the variant has been found in travelers. In the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, said he would not be surprised if the omicron variant was already in the United States, too.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Worried scientists in South Africa are scrambling to combat the lightning spread across the country of the new and highly transmissible omicron COVID-19 variant as the world grapples with its emergence. In the space of two weeks, the omicron variant has sent South Africa from a period of low transmission to rapid growth of new confirmed cases. The country’s numbers are still relatively low, with 2,828 new confirmed cases recorded Friday, but omicron’s speed in infecting young South Africans has alarmed health professionals. “We’re seeing a marked change in the demographic profile of patients with COVID-19,” Rudo Mathivha, head of the intensive care unit at Soweto’s Baragwanath Hospital, told an online press briefing.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is soaring, businesses are struggling to hire and President Joe Biden’s poll numbers have been in free fall. The White House sees a common culprit for it all: COVID-19. Biden’s team views the pandemic as the root cause of both the nation’s malaise and his own political woes. Finally controlling COVID-19, the White House believes, is the skeleton key to rejuvenating the country and reviving Biden’s own standing. But the coronavirus challenge has proved to be vexing for the White House, with last summer’s premature claims of victory swamped by the more transmissible delta variant, millions of Americans going unvaccinated and lingering economic effects from the pandemic’s darkest days.
NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Christie is everywhere. The former New Jersey governor and onetime Republican presidential candidate denounced “conspiracy theorists” during a September appearance at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. He followed up with a speech this month to influential Republicans in Las Vegas, warning that the party will only succeed if it offers a “plan for tomorrow, not a grievance about yesterday.” In between, he’s been interviewed by everyone from Laura Ingraham on Fox News to David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, on CNN. On its face, Christie’s publicity campaign is in service of “Republican Rescue,” his new book that offers a simple prescription for his party: stop talking nonsense about 2020 and focus on the future — or keep losing elections.
LONDON (AP) — WHAT IS THIS NEW COVID-19 VARIANT? South African scientists identified a new version of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant first emerged, but scientists in South Africa first alerted the World Health Organization and it has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days, although experts are still trying to determine if the new variant is actually responsible.
Residents in Washington state were preparing for possible flooding as “atmospheric rivers” once again threatened parts of the Northwest, which saw heavy damage from extreme weather earlier this month. People in the small communities of Sumas and Everson in northwest Washington were asked to voluntarily evacuate Saturday night, The Bellingham Herald reported. Both towns near the Canadian border saw extreme flooding from the previous storm. An emergency alert said road closures in the area could start early Sunday morning. Flood watches have been issued for much of western and north-central Washington for the weekend, and the National Weather Service warned that flooding was possible through Sunday.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — More than $1.4 million had been raised as of Saturday for a man who spent 43 years behind bars before a judge overturned his conviction in a triple killing. The Midwest Innocence Project set up the GoFundMe fundraiser as they fought for Kevin Strickland’s release, noting that he wouldn’t receive compensation from Missouri and would need help paying for basic living expenses. The state only allows wrongful imprisonment payments to people who were exonerated through DNA evidence, so the 62-year-old Strickland wouldn’t qualify. Judge James Welsh, a retired Missouri Court of Appeals judge, ordered his release on Tuesday, finding that evidence used to convict Strickland had since been recanted or disproven.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Luz Rivas remembers seeing the word on her mother’s residency card as a child: “alien.” In the stark terms of the government, it signaled her mother was not yet a citizen of the U.S. But to her young daughter, the word had a more personal meaning. Even though they were going through the naturalization process, it meant the family did not belong. “I want other children of immigrants, like me, to not feel the same way I did, that my family did, when we saw the word ‘alien’,” said Rivas, now an assemblywoman in the California Legislature.
CALAIS, France (AP) — The price to cross the English Channel varies according to the network of smugglers, between 3,000 and 7,000 euros ($3,380 and $8,000) though there are rumors of discounts. Often, the fee also includes a very short-term tent rental in the windy dunes of northern France and food cooked over fires that sputter in the rain that falls for more than half the month of November in the Calais region. Sometimes, but not always, it includes a life vest and fuel for the outboard motor. And the people who collect the money — up to 300,000 euros ($432,000) per boat that makes it across the narrows of the Channel — are not the ones arrested in the periodic raids along the coastline.
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Pushed to the limits, Alabama delivered plays to celebrate in a stadium that has produced a few devastating ones. The result was another unforgettable Iron Bowl. John Metchie caught a scoring pass from Bryce Young in the fourth overtime to give No. 3 Alabama a 24-22 comeback victory over rival Auburn on Saturday, rescuing the Crimson Tide’s national title hopes. It was the first overtime in the Iron Bowl. “Wow, what a game,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. Freshman Kool-Aid McKinstry tipped away T.J. Finley’s pass in the final OT and Young hit Metchie just as he did in the previous one.
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