November 27, 2021
Currently: 78° — Complete forecast
Published Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated 7 hours, 39 minutes ago
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — With each passing hour, new restrictions were being slapped on travel from countries in southern Africa as the world scurried Saturday to contain a new variant of the coronavirus that has the potential to be more resistant to the protection offered by vaccines. A host of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada Iran, Japan, Thailand and the United States, joined others, including the European Union and the U.K. in impose restrictions on southern African countries in response to warnings over the transmissability of the new variant — against the advice of the World Health Organization. Despite the shutdown of flights, there was increasing evidence that the variant is already spreading.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — As the world grapples with the emergence of the new highly transmissible variant of COVID-19, worried scientists in South Africa — where omicron was first identified — are scrambling to combat its lightning spread across the country. 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.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The last holiday season was far from the most wonderful time of the year for the U.S. Postal Service: Sick and quarantined workers, a flood of packages from shoppers loath to set foot in stores and a last-minute dump of packages from overwhelmed private shippers. Postal workers who recall packages and letters piled up in distribution hubs are better prepared this time as they gear up for another pandemic crunch. But low product inventories, and port and supply chain disruptions are creating new uncertainty about getting gifts delivered. Already, workers are seeing a surge in holiday packages that began several weeks ago.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Solomon Islands police found three bodies in a burned-out building and arrested more than 100 people in this week’s violence sparked by concerns about the Pacific nation’s increasing links with China. Australian media reported the bodies were recovered late Friday after riots and protests subsided. No other details were given. Authorities imposed a curfew in the capital Honiara, after a 36-hour lockdown ordered by the embattled Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare ended Friday. Sogavare blamed outside interference for stirring up the protests calling for his resignation, with a thinly veiled reference to Taiwan and the United States. Sogavare has been widely criticized by leaders of the country’s most populous island of Malaita for a 2019 decision to drop diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of mainland China.
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, stubborn millions of Americans unvaccinated and lingering economic effects from the pandemic’s darkest days.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s new law on working from home makes the European Union country sound like a workers’ paradise. Companies can’t attempt to contact their staff outside working hours. They must help staff pay for their home gas, electric and internet bills. Bosses are forbidden from using digital software to track what their teleworkers are doing. There’s just one problem: the law might not work. Critics say the new rules are half-baked, short on detail and unfeasible. And they may even backfire by making companies reluctant to allow working from home at all. “The law is badly written and doesn’t meet anybody’s needs,” says José Pedro Anacoreta, an employment attorney at PLMJ, one of Portugal’s main law firms.
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.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats wielded demands to fix the nation’s broken immigration system as a cudgel against Republicans in the 2020 campaign. Elect us, went the argument, and we’ll stop the cruel treatment of migrants at the border, and put in place lasting and humane policies that work. A year into Joe Biden’s presidency, though, action on the issue has been hard to find and there is growing consternation privately among some in the party that the Biden administration can’t find the right balance on immigration. Publicly, it’s another story. Most Washington lawmakers are largely holding their tongues, unwilling to criticize their leader on a polarizing topic that has created divisions within the party — especially as concerns mount over whether Democrats can hold on to power come next year.
Nov. 20 – 26, 2021 From an emotional Wanda Cooper-Jones hugging a supporter at the trial where three Georgia men were convicted of murdering her son Ahmaud Arbery, to Germany’s Alexander Zverev’s elated reaction after he defeated Serbian Novak Djokovic in their ATP World Tour Final, singles, semifinal tennis match in Turin, Italy, to French urban climber Alain Robert climbing up the Skyper high-rise building in central Frankfurt, Germany, as a man watches from inside his office, this photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images from around the world made or published by The Associated Press in the past week.
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.
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