November 28, 2021
Currently: 78° — Complete forecast
Published Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated 11 hours, 9 minutes ago
HONG KONG (AP) — Australian officials were racing Sunday to conduct further tests on passengers arriving from southern Africa who tested positive for COVID-19 to determine if they were carrying the omicron variant as nations around the world tightened controls against the worrying new strain. Neighboring New Zealand announced it was restricting travel from nine southern African countries because of the threat posed by the variant, and Japan widened its border controls to include more countries from the region. Tourist-dependent Thailand, which only recently began loosening its tight border restrictions to leisure travelers from certain countries, announced a ban of its own on visitors from eight African counties.
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.
PARIS (AP) — France is inducting Josephine Baker — Missouri-born cabaret dancer, French World War II spy and civil rights activist — into its Pantheon, the first Black woman honored in the final resting place of France’s most revered luminaries. On Tuesday, a coffin carrying soils from the U.S., France and Monaco — places where Baker made her mark — will be deposited inside the domed Pantheon monument overlooking the Left Bank of Paris. Her body will stay in Monaco, at the request of her family. French President Emmanuel Macron decided on her entry into the Pantheon, responding to a petition lobbying for her “pantheonization.” In addition to honoring an exceptional figure in French history, the move is meant to send a message against racism and celebrate U.S.-French connections.
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.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A security guard has died after he was shot while he protected a San Francisco Bay Area television news crew covering a smash-and-grab theft, part of a rash of organized retail crime in the region. “We are devastated by the loss of security guard and our friend, Kevin Nishita. Our deepest sympathy goes to Kevin’s wife, his children, his family, and to all his friends and colleagues,” KRON-TV’s vice president and general manager, Jim Rose, said in a statement issued Saturday. Nishita was an armed guard for Star Protection Agency and provided security for television news crews in the region, who are often targeted by robbers for their equipment.
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.
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.
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