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zrodom
Mar 27, 2023
In Global News
NATO criticises Putin for 'dangerous and irresponsible' nuclear rhetoric: Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Moscow, Russia, March 24, 2023. Sputnik/Alexei Babushkin/Kremlin via REUTERS On Sunday, NATO criticized Vladimir Putin for what it called his "dangerous and irresponsible" nuclear rhetoric. This comes a day after the Russian president announced his intention to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Putin likened the move to the US stationing weapons in Europe, and maintains that Russia will not violate its nuclear non-proliferation promises. Experts consider Russia's move significant since it has not deployed nuclear weapons outside its borders since the mid-1990s. NATO finds this move concerning as it follows Russia suspending its participation in the New START Treaty, which limited the number of nuclear warheads it could deploy. Israeli PM fires defense minister for urging halt to overhaul: Israeli police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators blocking the freeway during a protest against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to overhaul the judicial system March 25, 2023.Ariel Schalit/AP On Saturday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant became the first senior member of the ruling Likud party to speak out against the country’s judicial overhaul plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly fired him for this. The dismissal signaled that the overhaul plan will move ahead this week despite it sparking mass protests, angering military and business leaders, and raising concerns among allied nations. The upcoming parliamentary vote will be on a centerpiece of the overhaul — a law giving the governing coalition the final say over all judicial appointments. It also seeks to pass laws granting parliament the authority to override Supreme Court decisions with a basic majority and limiting judicial review. Honduras Establishes Ties with China After Taiwan Break: Honduras Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina Garcia, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang shake hands at a ceremony in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing Sunday, March 26, 2023. (Greg Baker/Pool Photo via AP) On Sunday, Honduras established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. This comes shortly after the country announced the breaking of relations with Taiwan. The diplomatic victory for China signals growing Chinese influence in Latin America and across the world as there are now only 13 states which recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty. China’s victory is built on decades of it funneling billions of dollars into investment and infrastructure projects across Latin America. In Honduras, this has come in the form of funding for the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the center of the country. However, experts warn over the implications of the newly formed ties with China. Political analyst Graco Pérez in Honduras said Beijing's narrative would highlight the benefits, including investment and job creation, “but that is all going to be illusory." Sources: NATO criticises Putin for 'dangerous and irresponsible' nuclear rhetoric | Reuters Netanyahu fires defense minister for urging halt to overhaul | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Honduras Establishes Ties with China After Taiwan Break | Military.com
Global News Summary: (3/20-3/26) content media
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zrodom
Mar 27, 2023
In Domestic News
Biden’s pick to lead FAA withdraws: Phillip Washington, President Biden’s pick to run the FAA, has withdrawn his nomination after he failed to gain enough support in the closely divided Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) President Joe Biden’s choice to run the Federal Aviation Administration has withdrawn his nomination. This is due to Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington’s nomination lacking support in the closely divided Senate. Republicans unitedly opposed Washington, calling him unqualified due to his limited aviation experience. Democrats and allied independents could still have pushed the nomination through, but lacked support from key senators on their side. The White House will likely address this by seeking assurances of support from moderates such as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana. The FAA has lacked a Senate-confirmed administrator since March 2022. The agency is trying to reassure Americans that air travel is safe despite a surge in close calls between planes this year. The agency is being led by an acting administrator, Billy Nolen, a pilot who has held safety jobs at three airlines and the FAA. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who led opposition to Washington, said Nolen could win bipartisan support. California picks generic drug company Civica to produce low-cost insulin‍: On Saturday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the selection of Utah-based generic drug manufacturer Civica to produce low-cost insulin for California. This unprecedented move makes good on his promise to put his state’s government in direct competition with the brand-name drug companies dominating the market. The contract, with an initial cost of $50 million approved by Newsom and his fellow Democratic lawmakers last year, is expected to make the lifesaving drug available to any Californian who needs it regardless of insurance coverage. If this proves successful then the state will also look to produce the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. California’s move, though never been tried by a state government, could be blunted by recent industry decisions to lower insulin prices. In March, Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi vowed to cut prices, with Lilly offering a vial at $25 per month; Novo Nordisk promising major reductions to bring the price of a particular generic vial to $48; and Sanofi also slashing prices, with one vial pegged at $64. After years of stalled talks, Canada and US reach border deal on irregular migrants: sources: A family of asylum seekers from Colombia is met by RCMP officers after crossing the border at Roxham Road into Canada on February 9, 2023. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press) Canada and the United States have reached an irregular migration deal. The deal changes how the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States is applied. It would close a loophole in the agreement, which came into force in 2004 and currently prevents Canadian law enforcement from turning back asylum seekers who enter Canada from the US at border locations that are not official ports of entry. Progress on a new border agreement between the two countries accelerated in the run-up to US President Joe Biden's first official visit to Canada. Several officials involved in the discussions had said talks had been lagging for months. The United States previously had not deemed a border deal with Canada a priority as it managed a migration surge on its southern border. Sources: Biden's pick to lead FAA withdraws California picks generic drug company Civica to produce low-cost insulin After years of stalled talks, Canada and U.S. reach border deal on irregular migrants: sources | CBC News
Domestic News Summary: (3/20-3/26) content media
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zrodom
Mar 20, 2023
In Global News
Macron's leadership at risk amid tensions over pension plan: A protester holds a placard with the face of Macron reading 'They have to come for me' during a protest in Paris, Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly) French President Macron unilaterally pushed to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron repeatedly said he was convinced the French retirement system needed modifying to keep it financed. He says other proposed options, like increasing the already heavy tax burden, would push investors away, and that decreasing the pensions of current retirees was not a realistic alternative. Macron has attempted to accomplish this by forcing a pension reform bill through without a vote. This has only infuriated the political opposition, led to mass protests, and could hamper his government's ability to pass legislation for the remaining four years of his term. Israeli Opposition Accepts Herzog’s Judicial Plan: Israel's opposition leaders during their press conference Thursday night.Credit: David Bachar On Wednesday, President Isaac Herzog presented his much-awaited judicial reform framework after weeks of consultations with academics and politicians. On Thursday, protests continued to rip across Israel, in the tenth week of demonstrations against the coalition’s plan. Opposition chiefs rallied Thursday behind Herzog’s proposed framework for judicial reform, calling the proposal workable but not ideal, amid the coalition’s blanket rejection of the framework. Five of the opposition’s six party leaders jointly backed the proposal as a basis for compromise, with several expressing concern that failure to curb the coalition’s march towards weakening the judiciary would leave civil rights and minorities unprotected. Russia’s Putin makes surprise trip to occupied Mariupol: Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the occupied port city of Mariupol, his first trip to Ukrainian territory that Moscow illegally annexed in September and a show of defiance after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges. Putin arrived in Mariupol late Saturday after visiting Crimea, southwest of Mariupol, to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday. He was shown chatting with Mariupol residents and visiting an art school and a children’s center in Sevastopol, Crimea. The surprise trip also came ahead of a planned visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, expected to provide a major diplomatic boost to Putin in his confrontation with the West. Sources: Macron's leadership at risk amid tensions over pension plan | CP24.com Opposition heads back Herzog's 'not ideal' proposal, pan coalition for dismissing it | The Times of Israel Russia’s Putin makes surprise trip to occupied Mariupol
Global News Summary: (3/13-3/19) content media
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zrodom
Mar 20, 2023
In Domestic News
US Senate leader Schumer urges federal safety probe into all major freight railroads: US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to the news media after attending a closed Senate Democratic Caucus lunch at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, March 2, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis On Wednesday, US Senate Leader Chuck Schumer urged a federal investigation into safety practices of all seven major freight railroads, following the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment. Schumer said that over the past five years, freight rail companies have had "over 26,500 accidents and incidents and 2,768 deaths, all while cutting roughly 20% of their workforce." This led him to write a letter urging the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to launch a formal investigation. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy told reporters on the sidelines at an event she had received Schumer's letter but was unclear if the agency has the authority to conduct such a broad based probe. $30 Billion Rescue Attempt By First Republic Fails To Allay Investor Anxiety‍: A number of poor financial decisions led the FIrst Republic Bank to nearly collapse, threatening to destabilize the US economy. Because a number of larger financial institutions decided to lodge a combined $30 billion in assets with the lender, First Republic Bank was able to avoid collapse. This leaves investors dissatisfied as the infusion of cash is merely a temporary fix. According to Trade Algo, First Republic drew a Federal Reserve liquidity line worth up to $109 billion in the days before it was saved by the big banks, which has increased market concerns. Miscalculation fears rise after Russian fighter jet collides with US drone over Black Sea: A Russian fighter has collided with a US Reaper drone, forcing it down into the Black Sea, in what US forces called an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept. A US European Command statement said the collision happened just after 7am on Tuesday morning, when two Russian Su-27 fighter jets flew up to the MQ-9 Reaper drone over international waters west of Crimea. The statement said the Russian pilots sought to disrupt the US aircraft before the collision. Russia’s defense ministry denied there was any collision and suggested the drone was brought down through pilot mishandling. The downing of the $32m drone triggered a race to recover the wreckage, as it contains some of the most advanced US technology and would be an intelligence windfall for Russia if it got to the aircraft first. Sources: U.S. Senate leader Schumer urges federal safety probe into all major freight railroads | Reuters $30 Billion Rescue Attempt By First Republic Fails To Allay Investor Anxiety‍ Miscalculation fears rise after Russian fighter jet collides with US drone over Black Sea | US military | The Guardian
Domestic News Summary: (3/13-3/19) content media
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zrodom
Feb 27, 2023
In Global News
Mexicans turn out in droves to protest electoral overhaul, see democracy at risk: On Wednesday, Mexico's Congress approved a major overhaul of the National Electoral Institute (INE), an independent body which Lopez Obrador has attacked as corrupt and inefficient. The 69-year-old president denies his changes will weaken Mexican democracy. Critics have vowed to take the legislation, which slashes the INE's budget and staff as well as paring back its responsibilities, to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, huge crowds gathered to condemn government moves to shrink the electoral authority as a threat to democracy, in what appeared to be the largest protest so far against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's administration. Russia to suspend participation in last remaining nuclear treaty with US: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address at the Gostiny Dvor conference center in central Moscow. Photo: Dmitry Astakhov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images On Monday, Russian President Putin gave a speech where he railed against Western nations with his own version of history, claiming that Russia was forced to invade Ukraine to defend itself against Western actions. Putin ended the speech by announcing "I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty.” He is referring to the New START treaty, which sought to limit the long-range nuclear weapons programs of the US and Russia. This marks a breakdown in US-Russia and may be in response to Biden’s recent visit to Ukraine. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called on Putin to reconsider. "With today's decision on New START, the whole arms control architecture has been dismantled," he said. Taliban fighters stop chemists selling contraception: Packs of condoms at a pharmacy in the western Afghan city of Herat in December. Photograph: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters Taliban fighters have stopped the sale of contraceptives in two of Afghanistan’s main cities, claiming their use by women is a western conspiracy to control the Muslim population. The Taliban has been going door to door, threatening midwives and ordering pharmacies to clear their shelves of all birth control medicines and devices. Restricting contraceptives will be a significant blow in a country with an already fragile healthcare system. It is the latest attack on women’s rights by the Taliban who, since coming to power in August 2021, have ended higher education for girls, closed universities to young women, forced women out of their jobs and restricted their ability to leave their homes. Sources: Mexicans turn out in droves to protest electoral overhaul, see democracy at risk | Reuters Putin: Russia to suspend participation in last remaining nuclear treaty with U.S. Taliban fighters stop chemists selling contraception | Global development | The Guardian
Global News Summary: (2/20-2/26) content media
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zrodom
Feb 27, 2023
In Domestic News
Biden unveils plan to deter asylum seekers at Mexico border: Migrants queue near the border fence, after crossing the Rio Bravo river, to request asylum in El Paso. José Luis González/Reuters A proposal unveiled on Tuesday could bar tens of thousands of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border from claiming asylum. This would be the most wide-ranging attempt yet by Joe Biden’s administration to deter unauthorized crossings. The new rules would generally deny asylum to migrants who arrive at the southern border without first seeking protection in a country they passed through, mirroring an attempt by the Trump administration that was blocked in court. The measure will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before it can be formally adopted. It would also be temporary and limited to a period of two years, with the possibility to extend it. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) vowed to fight the Biden rule in court, comparing it to the Trump restriction, which was dubbed a “transit ban” by activists. DeSantis discusses Digital Bill of Rights at news conference in West Palm Beach: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday afternoon , Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference at Palm Beach Atlantic University to discuss the Digital Bill of Rights. DeSantis said the focus is protecting minors from online harm and eliminating unfair censorship. His proposal also bans the use of Tik Tok and other social media platforms with ties to China from all state government devices and through internet services at colleges, universities, and public schools. “Our Digital Bill of Rights will ensure Floridians are protected from the overreach and surveillance we have seen from Big Tech companies,” DeSantis said. “Today’s proposal builds on our efforts to stop Big Tech censorship and combat the malign influence of China through the removal of nefarious platforms like TikTok from any state-supported activity.” Tennessee takes lead in Republican effort to restrict drag shows: Participants dressed in drag dance during the "Drag Queen Story Hour" event, which according to organizers involves participants reading stories to children for an hour, in downtown Monterrey, Mexico June 9, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril On Thursday, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill restricting drag performances in public or in front of children. This puts the state at the forefront of a Republican-led effort to limit drag in at least 15 states in recent months. The more than 20 bills nationwide are a pushback against modern drag, which has grown from an underground performance art using costumes and makeup to play with gender norms. "It gives confidence to parents that they can take their kids to a public or private show and will not be blindsided by a sexualized performance," Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, a Republican, said in a statement. This month, Johnson and his Senate colleagues passed a bill criminalizing "adult cabaret entertainment" in public or where it could be seen by children, though it would still be allowed in age-restricted venues. The bill will head to Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, for signing into law. Sources: Biden unveils Trump-style plan to deter asylum seekers at Mexico border | US immigration | The Guardian DeSantis discusses Digital Bill of Rights at news conference in West Palm Beach Tennessee takes lead in Republican effort to restrict drag shows | Reuters
Domestic News Summary: (2/20-2/26) content media
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zrodom
Feb 19, 2023
In Global News
Taliban plans to turn former foreign bases into special economic zones: [1/2] Parked vehicles are seen in Bagram U.S. air base, after American troops vacated it, in Parwan province, Afghanistan July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail On Sunday, the Taliban’s acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs announced that the administration will move ahead with plans to turn former foreign military bases into special economic zones. The acting commerce minister announced his intention in December to bring it before the Prime Minister and Cabinet for approval and they have now begun a pilot program in Kabul. This is part of the Taliban’s stated aim of focusing on boosting economic self-sufficiency through trade and investment. However, foreign investors remain worried over the administration’s ability to address human rights concerns and ward off terrorist attacks by Islamic State. Armenia offers peace treaty project to Azerbaijan: A service member of the Russian peacekeeping troops stands next to a military vehicle at the Dadivank, an Armenian Apostolic Church monastery, November 15, 2020 [File: Reuters] Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the state has presented Azerbaijan with a project for a full peace treaty. If this goes through, it will end the decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The two former Soviet republics have been locked in a state of conflict over the mountainous area, which lies in Azerbaijan but whose population is largely Armenian. While Azerbaijan has yet to accept the treaty, copies being sent to Russia, the US, and France is a good sign of Armenia’s sincerity. This is reinforced by the agreement providing for monitoring mechanisms by both sides to prevent breaches of trust. Nigeria's naira shortage: Anger and chaos outside banks: Queues have been seen across the country including in Zamfara state in the north. Reuters Nigeria is experiencing a growing sense of anxiety over the ongoing cash shortage. This is due to a lack of newly designed naira notes, made worse by 40% of the population not having bank accounts. The Central Bank of Nigeria says the purpose of the redesign was to replace the dirty cash in circulation, to tackle inflation, curb counterfeiting and promote a cashless society. Last October, Nigerians were told that the old notes were being replaced with new notes and were encouraged to deposit savings in the bank. Now, much of the population is unable to access said money, with many sleeping outside banks in hopes of being among the first in line to get freshly printed notes. The Supreme Court has even become involved and has ordered that the deadline to hand in old notes be extended but this has made little difference. Sources: Taliban plans to turn former foreign bases into special economic zones | Reuters Armenia offers peace treaty project to Azerbaijan | News | Al Jazeera Nigeria's naira shortage: Anger and chaos outside banks - BBC News
Global News Summary: (2/13-2/19) content media
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zrodom
Feb 19, 2023
In Domestic News
Nikki Haley enters race for Republican presidential nominee: Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announces her run for 2024 U.S. presidential election. February 14, 2023. Nikki Haley Via Instagram | Reuters Nikki Haley announced on Tuesday that she will enter the 2024 presidential race. This marks the former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador as the first Republican to challenge former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Haley, announcing her launch a day before she started campaigning in Charleston, has so far called for fiscal responsibility and secure borders. Her announcement makes her the second candidate in what is likely to be a wide Republican primary field. Biden says the 3 aerial objects shot down were not Chinese spy balloons: Air Force Capt. Samuel “RaZZ” Larson, F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs an aerial maneuver during the team’s certification flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Dec. 9, 2022. Over the course of this month four separate objects have been shot down in US airspace, one of which is confirmed to have been a Chinese surveillance balloon. While President Biden is planning to meet with Xi Jinping to discuss this, it remains unclear what the other unknown flying objects were. Biden has so far echoed other officials in saying these three were not surveillance vehicles of any kind. He instead says that they likely belonged to private companies, recreation, or research institutions. The purported reason that these objects are just showing up now is that the US military has recently upgraded its radar to better pick up slow-moving objects. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle continue to ask that Biden publicly address the issue and reassure the American people that there is no threat. US bombers fly after North Korea says it tested ICBM in surprise drill: Test launch of a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday, February 18, 2023. North Korea claims that it has conducted another intercontinental ballistic missile test, the third such test in under a year. On Sunday, the US responded to this by flying long-range supersonic bombers in a show of force and stepping up joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan. A South Korean military statement said Sunday's training reaffirmed Washington's "iron-clad" security commitment to South Korea. North Korea considers the test proof of its ability to launch a "fatal nuclear counterattack on the hostile forces." However, there is currently no evidence that the country can protect nuclear warheads from the harsh atmospheric conditions of reentry. Sources: Nikki Haley enters race for president as first major challenger to Trump for the Republican nomination Biden says the 3 aerial objects shot down were not Chinese spy balloons US bombers fly after North Korea says it tested ICBM in surprise drill | 9 News
Domestic News Summary: (2/13-2/19) content media
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zrodom
Feb 05, 2023
In Global News
Netanyahu Tells High Court AG’s Position on His Judicial Conflict of Interest Is ‘Unacceptable’: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on January 29, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the High Court that Israel’s attorney general’s position that he should avoid intervening in the judicial system due to a conflict of interest is “unacceptable.” He further requested two weeks to respond to the AG’s letter. In a long-awaited legal opinion that was issued on Thursday, Baharav-Miara said that Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the judicial system will cause “severe harm” to the checks and balances between the branches of government in an official opinion issued on Thursday, warning that the proposals might amount to a regime change. Since being sworn in as prime minister in late December, Netanyahu’s right wing government has pushed for legislation that would permit the Knesset to override Supreme Court decisions by a very slim majority of 61 votes in the 120-seat parliament, as well as legislation to tip the balance on the Judicial Appointments Committee in favor of politicians. Currently, the judges and the politicians on the committee have veto power over the appointments of Supreme Court justices, meaning that they need to work out a compromise acceptable to both sides. Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine: A fuel trucks drive along a highway in Frankfurt, Germany on Jan. 27 Michael Probst/Associated Press On Sunday, Europe imposed a ban on Russian diesel fuel and other refined oil products, cutting energy dependency on Moscow and seeking to further limit the Kremlin’s fossil fuel earnings. The ban comes along with a price cap agreed upon by the Group of Seven allied democracies. This will allow Russian diesel to flow to countries like China and India to avoid hurting consumers worldwide while reducing the profits funding Moscow’s budget and war. The new sanctions create uncertainty about prices as the 27-nation European Union finds new supplies of diesel from the US, Middle East, and India to replace those from Russia, which at one point delivered 10% of Europe’s total diesel needs. The price cap of $100 per barrel for diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline is to be enforced by barring insurance and shipping services from handling diesel priced over the limit. Most of those companies are located in Western countries. It follows a $60-per-barrel cap on Russian crude that took effect in December and functions the same way. The diesel price cap will not bite immediately because it was set at about what Russian diesel trades for. Russia’s chief problem now will be finding new customers, not evading the price ceiling. However, the cap aims to prevent Russian gains from any sudden price spikes in refined oil products. Britain faces largest ever healthcare strikes as pay disputes drag on: People hold placards during a strike by NHS nurses and other medical workers, amid a dispute with the government over pay, in London, Britain, January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville Britain is facing its largest ever strike by health workers as tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance workers walk out in an escalating pay dispute. The two groups have been striking separately on and off since late last year but Monday's walkout involving both, largely in England, will represent the biggest in the 75-year history of the National Health Service. Health workers are demanding a pay rise that reflects the worst inflation in Britain in four decades, while the government says that would be unaffordable and only fuel further price rises. The NHS, historically a source of pride for most Britons, is under extreme pressure with millions of patients on waiting lists for operations and thousands each month failing to receive prompt emergency care. The RCN initially asked for a pay rise of 5% above inflation and has since said it could meet the government "halfway", but both sides have failed to reach an agreement despite weeks of talks. Around 500,000 workers, many from the public sector, have been staging strikes since last summer, adding to pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to resolve the disputes and limit disruption to public services such as railways and schools. Sources: Netanyahu Tells High Court AG’s Position on His Judicial Conflict of Interest Is ‘Unacceptable’ - Israel News Europe bans Russian diesel, other oil products over Ukraine | Press Herald Britain faces largest ever healthcare strikes as pay disputes drag on | Reuters
Global News Summary: (1/30-2/5) content media
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zrodom
Feb 05, 2023
In Domestic News
F-22 Safely Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon Off South Carolina Coast: Air Force Capt. Samuel “RaZZ” Larson, F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team commander and pilot, performs an aerial maneuver during the team’s certification flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Dec. 9, 2022. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ordered the destruction of a Chineses spy balloon. This was delayed until the balloon was over water off the coast of South Carolina to ensure no Americans on the ground were harmed. Officials first detected the balloon and its payload on January 28 when it entered US airspace near the Aleutian Islands. The balloon traversed Alaska, Canada, and re-entered US airspace over Idaho. Prior to shooting it down, US officials took steps to protect against the balloon's collection of sensitive information, mitigating its intelligence value to the Chinese. Rather than posing a military or physical threat, the balloon’s intrusion into American airspace will enable US analysts to examine sensitive Chinese equipment. While Chinese officials admitted that the balloon was theirs, they said it was a runaway weather balloon. The mission now transitions to one of recovery. There are a number of US Navy and Coast Guard vessels establishing a security perimeter around the area where the balloon came to Earth. Dems reshuffle primaries to stress diversity over tradition: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stand on stage with DNC chair Jaime Harrison at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) On Saturday, the Democratic Party approved reordering its 2024 presidential primary as a way of empowering minority voters in its base. States with early contests play a major role in determining the nominee as White House hopefuls struggling to raise money or gain political traction often drop out early. The new plan was championed by President Biden, who is expected to formally announce his reelection campaign in the coming months. The reconfiguring would have South Carolina hold its primary on Feb. 3, followed three days later by New Hampshire and Nevada, which is swapping the caucus it used to hold in favor of a primary. Georgia would vote fourth on Feb. 13, followed by Michigan on Feb. 27, with much of the rest of the nation set to vote on Super Tuesday in early March. Four of the first five new states under Democrats’ new plan are battlegrounds, meaning the eventual party winner would be able to lay groundwork in important general election spots. This is especially true for Michigan and Georgia, both of which voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2016 before flipping to Biden in 2020. GOP Sen. Rubio demands Pfizer explain alleged gain-of-function research: On Thursday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio demanded that Pfizer explain the purported evidence of them mutating the SARS-CoV-2 virus to make COVID-19 more contagious. In a video released by Project Veritas, Pfizer Director of Research and Development, Jordon Trishton Walker, says "One of the things we're exploring is like, why don't we just mutate it [COVID] ourselves so we could create — preemptively develop new vaccines, right? So, we have to do that. If we're gonna do that though, there's a risk of like, as you could imagine — no one wants to be having a pharma company mutating f**king viruses." Rubio was quick to condemn the alleged practices, calling it "careless and dangerous." In a letter he sent to Pfizer President and CEO Albert Bourla, he demanded that the company explain its future plans, if any, to mutate the virus. He further asked whether the company intended to carry on with gain-of-function or directed evolution of it to develop new vaccines preemptively. Rubio concluded by saying "As a leader in global public health and development of the COVID vaccine, with American taxpayer dollars, it is critical that Pfizer is accountable for their actions and be transparent with the public on the substance and intent of their research." Sources: F-22 Safely Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon Off South Carolina Coast Dems reshuffle primaries to stress diversity over tradition | AP News GOP Sen. Rubio demands Pfizer explain alleged gain-of-function research | Just The News
Domestic News Summary: (1/30-2/5) content media
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zrodom
Jan 29, 2023
In Global News
US finalizing plans to send approximately 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, two US officials say: Nicolas Armer/dpa/Getty Images The US is finalizing plans to send approximately 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The Biden administration announcement to send the US-made tanks could come as early as this week, according to CNN on Tuesday. The timing around the actual delivery of the tanks is still unclear and it normally takes several months to train troops to use the tanks effectively, officials said. The US will also send a small number of recovery vehicles, which are tracked vehicles used to assist in the repair of tanks on the battlefield or the removal from the battlefield for service and maintenance in a different location. The pending announcement appears to break a diplomatic impasse with Germany. German officials had openly stated that they would only send their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US sent the M-1 Abrams tank, a system US officials had repeatedly stated was overly complex and difficult to maintain. The German government announced on Wednesday it will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, following weeks of diplomatic pressure to make the move. Iran says drone attack targeted a defense factory in city of Isfahan: The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. Photo by Lisi Niesner/REUTERS Bomb-carrying drones targeted an Iranian defense factory in the central city of Isfahan overnight, authorities said early Sunday. The bombing caused some damage at the plant amid heightened regional and international tensions engulfing the Islamic Republic. The Iranian Defense Ministry offered no information on who it suspected carried out the attack. A Defense Ministry statement described three drones being launched at the facility, with two of them successfully shot down while a third made it through to strike the building, causing “minor damage” to its roof and wounding no one, the ministry said. Iranian defense and nuclear sites increasingly find themselves surrounded by commercial properties and residential neighborhoods as the country’s cities sprawl ever outward. Some locations as well remain incredibly opaque about what they produce, with only a sign bearing a Defense Ministry or paramilitary Revolutionary Guard logo. Pavel leads ahead of Czech vote; opponent plays on war fears: Czech presidential candidate Petr Pavel attends the last radio debate before the country's direct presidential election in Prague, Czech Republic, January 13, 2023. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo/File Photo Czech election polls showed on Monday that retired general and former NATO official Petr Pavel is leading billionaire ex-prime minister Andrej Babis by a double-digit margin ahead of a Czech presidential election run-off vote. Pavel, an independent backed by the center-right government, has projected a clear pro-Western policy stance and support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression. Babis, heading the largest opposition political party, won the backing of retiring President Milos Zeman as well as figures from the extreme fringes of the political scene, including the pro-Russian former ruling Communist Party. Zeman had favored closer ties with China and Russia, until Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year. In a television debate on Sunday night, Babis caused a stir by saying he would refuse to send troops to defend NATO allies Poland and the Baltics in case they were attacked, but he later backtracked on those comments to say he would respect NATO's mutual defense commitments. Sources: US finalizing plans to send approximately 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, two US officials say | CNN Politics Iran says drone attack targeted a defense factory in city of Isfahan | PBS News Pavel leads ahead of Czech vote; opponent plays on war fears | Reuters
Global News Summary: (1/23/1/29) content media
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zrodom
Jan 29, 2023
In Domestic News
Biden, McCarthy to discuss debt limit in talks on Wednesday: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses during a break in the taping of an interview for the Hannity show with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) On Sunday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he looks forward to discussing lifting the debt with President Joe Biden when the two meet Wednesday for their first sit-down at the White House since McCarthy’s election to the post. McCarthy wants to address spending cuts along with raising the debt limit despite the White House having ruled out linking those two issues together as the government tries to avoid a financial default. When asked whether he would make a guarantee, McCarthy said, "There will not be a default,” though he clarified that this depended on the willingness of Biden and Democrats to negotiate. McCarthy has been eager to push Biden to the negotiating table, hoping to make good on the promises the GOP leader made to holdouts during his campaign to become speaker to cut back on federal spending back to 2022 budget levels, which would require a sizable 8% reduction on spending. Meanwhile, the White House maintains that it is unwilling to make policy concessions in exchange for lifting the debt limit. VP Harris hosts White House summit to replace lead pipes: Vice President Kamala Harris attends a meeting with CEOs from companies that are engaged with the Northern Triangle in Washington US, May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria On Friday, US Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a summit at the White House to speed up the removal of lead pipes across America. According to White House officials, Harris was joined by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, along with other representatives from state and local government, water utilities, labor leaders, NGOs, and the private sector. The White House has made removing every lead pipe in the United States a centerpiece of its plan to combat racial disparities and environmental issues in the wake of water contamination disasters seen in recent years from Newark, New Jersey to Flint, Michigan. The administration has put $5 billion of infrastructure funding into cities and towns across the country for this purpose, but millions of lead service lines still deliver water to schools, offices, homes, and daycare centers across the country. Biden administration officials have previously said they did not have a time frame for replacing the millions of lead pipes but environmental groups have asked the EPA to set a deadline of 10 years. Michigan's Ronna McDaniel defeats rival in RNC leadership vote: Republican National Committee Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, gavels the call-to-order at the opening of the first day of the Republican National Convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina, US, August 24, 2020. Photo by Chris Carlson/Pool via Reuters On Friday, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel won her bid to lead the GOP for two more years. This comes after an election that highlighted fierce internal divisions that threaten to plague the party into the next presidential season. McDaniel, who became RNC chair in 2016, won the secret ballot vote 111 to 51. With the victory, McDaniel becomes the longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War. The case against McDaniel centered on dissatisfaction with the direction of the party due to election losses. Ahead of the vote, Harmeet Dhillon, McDaniel’s chief rival, cited the Republican base’s desire for change and threatened political retribution for RNC members who dared support McDaniel’s reelection. McDaniel is now set to lead the RNC through the 2024 election. Under her leadership, the committee will control much of the 2024 presidential nominating process – including the debates and voting calendar – while directing the sprawling nationwide infrastructure designed to elect the next Republican president. Sources: Biden, McCarthy to discuss debt limit in talks on Wednesday | ClickOrlando VP Harris hosts White House summit to replace lead pipes | Reuters Michigan's Ronna McDaniel defeats rival in RNC leadership vote | Detroit News
Domestic News Summary: (1/23-1/29) content media
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zrodom
Jan 22, 2023
In Global News
Canada's energy jobs transition bill sparks discord in oil heartland: Pipelines run at the McKay River Suncor oil sands in-situ operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta, September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Todd Korol Controversy is brewing in Canada's western oil patch over federal government legislation meant to help the fossil fuel labor force transition to green energy. Union and community leaders are warning that politicization of the Just Transition bill obscures the needs of workers. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government is expected to table its long-awaited workforce transition bill this spring, ahead of economic changes expected as they pursue ambitious goals to slash climate-warming emissions. The government of Alberta, Canada's main crude-producing province, says the legislation will dismantle the oil and gas industry that makes up 5% of Canada's GDP. Alberta's Conservative Premier Danielle Smith is using the threat of job losses to attack Trudeau and rally her conservative base, although she has been criticized for misinterpreting how many jobs may be at risk. The Trudeau government is trying to soothe concerns about the bill, first promised in 2019. According to Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), if done right the bill could incentivise technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen. UAE Sparks Backlash After Appointing Oil Company Chief to Lead UN Climate Talks COP28: Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the Emirati Minister of State and the CEO of Abu Dhabi’s state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., attends the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Nov. 11, 2019. On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates named the CEO of a state-run oil company who oversees renewable energy projects to be the president of the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Dubai. This has drawn criticism from activists. Authorities nominated Sultan al-Jaber, a trusted confidant of UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who leads the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. The Emirates' state-run WAM quoted al-Jaber, a 49-year-old longtime climate envoy, as calling for ”a pragmatic, realistic and solutions-oriented approach" to limit global warming to just 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. Al-Jaber's nomination, however, drew immediate criticism as many are worried over his credibility and qualifications for a role typically held by seasoned diplomats. Eritrean troops seen leaving towns in Ethiopia's Tigray: Local farmers walk next to a tank of alledged Eritrean army that is abandoned along the road in Dansa, southwest of Mekele in Tigray region, Ethiopia. (File photo: AFP) Eritrean forces were seen withdrawing from towns in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, where they had been fighting alongside Ethiopia's government troops against rebels. A cease-fire agreed upon in November brought calm to the restive region after a nearly two-year war. The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels called for the withdrawal of troops from Eritrea, but some Eritrean fighters remained deployed throughout the area. The United States and the European Union had also urged Eritrea to pull back its troops. Media reports published Sunday quoted local residents as saying that convoys of Eritrean troops had been leaving the towns of Shire and Adwa, though the claim could not be independently verified due to the limited access to Tigray. Sources: Canada's energy jobs transition bill sparks discord in oil heartland | Reuters UAE Sparks Backlash After Appointing Oil Company Chief to Lead UN Climate Talks COP28 | NBC News Eritrean troops seen leaving towns in Ethiopia's Tigray – DW – 01/22/2023
Global News Summary: (1/16-1/22) content media
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zrodom
Jan 22, 2023
In Domestic News
FBI searched Biden home, found items marked classified: The access road to President Joe Biden's home in Wilmington, Del., is seen from a media van on Jan. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) On Friday, the FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware and located additional documents with classified markings. Biden voluntarily allowed the FBI into his home, but the lack of a search warrant only added to the embarrassment to Biden that started with the disclosure on January twelfth that the president’s attorneys had found a “small number” of classified records at a former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington shortly before the midterm elections. Since then, attorneys have gone on to find six classified documents in Biden’s Wilmington home library from his time as vice president. Though Biden continues to maintain that there is nothing to be found, the discoveries have become a political liability as he prepares for his reelection bid. The FBI took six items that contained documents with classified markings during Friday’s thirteen hour search, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer. The items spanned Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while he said that the notes dated to his time as vice president. The level of classification, and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified, is not immediately clear as the Justice Department is still reviewing the records. What to know about extraordinary measures as debt ceiling hits: Data: U.S. Treasury Department, FactSet; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the U.S. has reached its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. Because the US government runs on a deficit, the Treasury Department will begin "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on government bonds. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a letter to Congress said that the Treasury was instituting a "debt issuance suspension period" beginning Thursday and running through June 5. This will prevent the Treasury from fulfilling certain investments, including to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Congress last raised the debt ceiling in December of 2021, when Democrats held unified control of Congress. In her letter to Congress last week, Yellen identified the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, and Government Securities Investment Fund as potential avenues for these extraordinary measures. Some GOP members say they're firmly against any increase to the debt limit. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he wants to “set a budget, set a path to get us to a balanced budget and let’s start paying this debt off.” Meanwhile the White House maintains that Congress must handle the debt limit without conditions. Why US Schools Are Blocking ChatGPT?: A ChatGPT prompt is shown on a device near a public school in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan) New artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, are making waves in the world of education over their ability to write a school report in just a few seconds. The technology has reached the point where it can write sentences at the level of a human and it will do it for free. The tool has only been in use since November, but is already raising tough questions about the future of AI in education, the tech industry, and numerous other professions. New York City school officials recently started blocking the writing tool on school devices and networks which could affect how other school systems throughout the country deal with the technology. Teachers are now trying to find out how to prevent students using the AI tool for cheating and creators are also looking for ways to detect its misuse. Sources: FBI searched Biden home, found items marked classified | AP News What to know about extraordinary measures as debt ceiling hits | Axios Why US Schools Are Blocking ChatGPT? | VOA
Domestic News Summary: (1/16-1/22) content media
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zrodom
Nov 20, 2022
In Global News
Ukraine grain export deal extended for four months: The Black Sea grain deal has seen more than 11 million tons of agricultural products shipped from three Ukrainian ports since July [File: Khalil Hamra/AP] A deal allowing vital grain exports to continue from Ukraine’s southern Black Sea ports has been extended by four months, calming worries over the world’s food supply. Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, hailed the extension as an “important step in the global fight against the food crisis” and Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said Moscow agreed to stick with the deal “without changes in terms or scope.” The deal between the two warring sides, brokered in July by Turkey and the UN, has seen more than 11 million tons of agricultural products shipped from three of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, including 4.5 million tonnes of corn and 3.2 million tonnes of wheat. Though less than the one-year extension sought by the UN, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Russia and Ukraine’s consensus on continuing the deal. Russia previously said its approval to extend the deal depended on support for its grain and fertilizer exports. Russia is a major agricultural producer and the world’s largest wheat exporter. Russia reportedly wants the West to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank, a move that should help facilitate more of its exports. Iran’s regime worried protests entering an ‘armed phase’ -analysis: Demonstrators march against the electoral reform proposed by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and in support of the National Electoral Institute (INE) in Mexico City, Mexico, November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Luis Cortes Iran is worried that several recent incidents in the country point to a growing chance that the two-month-old protests are becoming dangerously violent. An article in Iranian pro-Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps media on Thursday indicated that the media narrative will hyper-focus on armed attacks. Iran calls the protestors and extremists “separatists,” a term it generally uses for Kurds, Baloch, Arabs and other minority groups in Iran. As Iran is a diverse country where minority groups may outnumber Persians, the regime has to balance the interests of Persian theocratic elites with the support it needs from minorities. The largest minority groups are generally concentrated in various periphery regions of Iran; such as Kurds in the northwest, Azeris in the northwest, Balochis in the southeast as well as Arabs in the southwest. The regime believes dozens, or even hundreds of Kurdish activists have crossed from Iraq into Iran and that these “separatists” are involved in mobilizing opposition to the regime. There are a plethora of Kurdish groups that operate in Iraq and among Kurdish Iranian exile groups. These include the PDKI, the PAK, Komala and PJAK. Iran’s regime has lashed out at PDKI, PAK and Komala over the last two months. Vulnerable nations warn COP27 success rests on climate damage fund: [1/5] Vasco restaurant is seen surrounded by rocks to protect it from the sea at Marquesa beach, Spain, October 13, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Nacho Doc/File Photo On Thursday, ministers representing developing nations said that the COP27 climate summit in Egypt must establish a fund to help them cope with irreparable damages caused by climate disasters. They warned that anything less would thwart the UN summit's chances of success. Talks about creating a "loss and damage" fund were put on the agenda for the first time in nearly three decades of COP climate summits as poorer nations urged richer countries to act. Climate Change Minister Ralph Regenvanu of Vanuatu, an island country threatened by rising sea levels, said the G77 group of 134 developing countries had discussed the option of walking out of COP27 if there was no decision on loss and damage. The first draft of a possible deal document for COP27 published earlier on Thursday mentions loss and damage, but it does not include details for actually launching a fund. Sources: Ukraine grain export deal extended for four months | United Nations News | Al Jazeera Iran’s regime worried protests entering an ‘armed phase’ -analysis - The Jerusalem Post Vulnerable nations warn COP27 success rests on climate damage fund | Reuters
Global News Summary: (11/14-11/20) content media
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zrodom
Nov 20, 2022
In Domestic News
Report of second major U.S. Supreme Court leak draws calls for probe: The U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, U.S., June 26, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo On Saturday, calls were made to investigate the US Supreme Court. This is due to the New York Times report that a former pro-life leader was told the outcome of a major 2014 US Supreme Court case involving contraceptives in advance. Rev. Rob Schenck was quoted by The Times as saying he was informed weeks before the announcement of the ruling shortly, when his conservative allies had dinner at the home of Justice Samuel Alito and his wife. Schenck, who used to lead an evangelical nonprofit in Washington, said in interviews that he was informed ahead of time about the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling. According to The Times, Schenck used this knowledge to prepare a public relations campaign and to tip off the president of Hobby Lobby on the case’s outcome. Alito said in a statement that any allegation that he or his wife leaked the 2014 decision was "completely false." Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a written statement that the committee is reviewing the allegations. He urged passage of legislation pending in Congress that would create a code of ethics for the Supreme Court. Justices on the top court currently are not required to follow a binding code of ethics for judges in lower federal courts, which Durbin called "unacceptable." US and China work to manage differences to avoid conflict: U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia. On Monday, US President Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and said in their first in-person meeting since taking office that the two leaders should manage their differences. Biden opened their Indonesia meeting by saying, “As the leaders of our two nations, we share a responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever near conflict and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation.” In a press conference last week, Biden announced his intention to address his views on US commitments to defending Taiwan in his bilateral meeting with Xi. Biden has said that he believes the US should come to Taiwan’s defense if China invades, but will not pursue American military intervention. Xi, in his opening remarks on Monday, said that lessons can be learned from the US and China’s over-50-year relationship. Reporters traveling with Biden listened to the opening remarks at the top of the meeting. Monday’s meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 follows better-than-expected midterm elections for Biden, with Democrats holding on to control of the Senate. Children’s hospitals seek declaration of emergency in the face of RSV surge: Kazuma Seki | Istock | Getty Images The Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics warned President Joe Biden and Health Secretary Xavier Becerra in a letter this week that “unprecedented levels” of RSV combined with increasing flu circulation are pushing some hospitals to the breaking point. Infants 6 months and younger are being hospitalized with RSV at over seven times the weekly rate observed before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As respiratory viruses surge, more than three-fourths of pediatric hospital beds are occupied across the US. Seventeen states are reporting that more than 80% of beds are full with children’s hospitals in Arizona, the DC, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Kentucky, and Utah all at near-total capacity. An emergency declaration would provide hospitals with the flexibility needed to free up bed capacity and staffing to ensure children get the care they need, Children’s Hospital Association CEO Mark Wietecha and AAP CEO Mark Del Monte told Biden and Becerra in the letter this week. Sources: Report of second major U.S. Supreme Court leak draws calls for probe | Reuters Biden tells Xi US and China should manage differences to prevent competition from becoming conflict | The Hill Children's hospitals call on Biden to declare emergency in response to 'unprecedented' RSV surge
Domestic News Summary: 11/14-11/20) content media
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zrodom
Nov 14, 2022
In Global News
UN climate talks reach halftime with key issues unresolved: The logo for COP27 is displayed at the U.N. Climate Summit, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File) The UN Climate talks in Egypt are halfway through and negotiators are still working on draft agreements before ministers arrive next week to push for a substantial deal to fight climate change. The two-week meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh started with strong appeals from world leaders for greater efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and help poor nations cope with global warming. Negotiators are trying to put together a mitigation program that would capture the different measures countries have committed to in order to reduce emissions, including for specific sectors like energy and transport. Many of these pledges are not formally part of the UN process, meaning they cannot easily be scrutinized at the annual meeting. A draft agreement circulated early Saturday had more than 200 square brackets, meaning large sections were still unresolved. Rich countries have fallen short on a pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate financing for poor nations. intense pressure from developing countries forced the issue of “loss and damage” onto the formal agenda at the talks for the first time this year. Whether there will be a deal to promote further technical work or the creation of an actual fund remains to be seen. Tens of thousands protest Mexican president's electoral reform plan: Demonstrators march against the electoral reform proposed by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and in support of the National Electoral Institute (INE) in Mexico City, Mexico, November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Luis Cortes On Sunday, Tens of thousands took to the streets in Mexico to protest a plan to overhaul the country's electoral commission INE. This is largely due to them fearing this could mean a concentration of government power because it would mean greater presidential control over electoral systems. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who put the plan forward in April, has long criticized the country's electoral authorities, including accusing them of helping to engineer his defeats when he ran for the presidency in 2006 and 2012. He has said that the reform would let citizens elect electoral authorities and reduce the influence of economic interests in politics. Last week, Congress started discussing the plan. His ruling Morena party and its allies would need a two-thirds majority in Congress to make changes to the constitution. Ukrainian troops sweep into key city of Kherson after Russian forces retreat: On Friday, Ukrainian forces captured the key city of Kherson as Russian troops retreated to the east. This marks a major victory for Kyiv and marks one of the biggest setbacks Russia has faced since the invasion began. Kherson was the only Ukrainian regional capital that Russian forces had captured since February’s invasion. Their withdrawal east across the Dnipro cedes large swathes of land that Russia has occupied since the early days of the war, which Putin had formally declared as Russian territory just five weeks ago. Ukraine has not reported any incoming fire from the east bank Friday but said a missile attack on the city of Mykolaiv, close to the border with Kherson, killed seven people early Friday. At least seven bridges in total, four of them crossing the River Dnipro, have been destroyed in the last 24 hours, Maxar Technologies satellite images and other photos show. Water is flowing out of three sluice gates at the critical dam, which spans the Dnipro river, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies obtained by CNN. It’s unclear how the latest damage, which is close to the west bank, was caused. Local Telegram channels reported Thursday night the sound of explosions around the dam. Ukrainian forces do not appear to have taken control of the dam, which could cause considerable damage in the region if breached. Sources: UN climate talks reach halftime with key issues unresolved | AP News Tens of thousands protest Mexican president's electoral reform plan | Reuters Ukrainian troops sweep into key city of Kherson after Russian forces retreat, dealing blow to Putin
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zrodom
Nov 14, 2022
In Domestic News
Democrats keep Senate control: Democrats retained control of the Senate in US Midterms. Their leadership has portrayed this as vindication of their agenda and a rebuke of election denialism and extremist candidates on the right, even as Republicans edged towards control of the House of Representatives with a handful of key races yet to be called. Democrats gained Senate control late Saturday when Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto defeated former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. However, the solidity of their control remains in question. While Democrats currently hold a 50-50 split with the tie breaking vote, Georgia is having a runoff election. A victory by Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock would give the party outright majority control, bolstering its sway over committees, bills, and judicial picks. Republicans, however, remained close to seizing control of the House as officials continued counting ballots, with returns still flowing in for several races, including many in liberal-leaning California. As of Sunday, Republicans had won 211 seats and the Democrats 205, with 218 needed for a majority. It could take several days before the outcome of enough House races is known to determine which party will control the 435-seat chamber. Funds vanish at bankrupt crypto exchange FTX; probe underway: A person walks past the FTX Arena, where the Miami Heat basketball team plays, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) Hours after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, collapsed cryptocurrency trading firm FTX confirmed there was “unauthorized access” to its accounts. The embattled company’s new CEO John Ray III said Saturday that FTX is switching off the ability to trade or withdraw funds and taking steps to secure customers’ assets. Exactly how much money is involved is unclear, but analytics firm Elliptic estimated Saturday that $477 million was missing from the exchange. Another $186 million was moved out of FTX’s accounts, but that may have been FTX moving assets to storage, said Elliptic’s co-founder and chief scientist Tom Robinson. Until recently, FTX was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. It was already short billions of dollars when it sought bankruptcy protection Friday and its former CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, resigned. The unraveling of the once-giant exchange is sending shockwaves through the industry, with companies that backed FTX writing down investments and the prices of bitcoin and other digital currencies falling. These shockwaves have led Politicians and regulators to call for stricter oversight of the unwieldy industry though it remains unclear what specific measures, if any, will be put in place U.S COVID public health emergency to stay in place: The United States announced Friday that it will keep in place the public health emergency status of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow millions of Americans to still get free tests, vaccines and treatments until at least April of next year. The possibility of a winter surge in COVID cases and the need for more time to transition out of the public health emergency to a private market were two factors that contributed to the decision not to end the emergency status in January, one of the officials announcing the extension said. The US Department of Health and Human Services has promised to give states 60 days notice before letting the emergency expire, which would have been on Friday if it did not plan on renewing it again in January. Health experts believe that the country will see a COVID-19 surge this winter, one official said. The official said there remained a lot of work to be done for the transition out of the public health emergency. When the emergency expires, the government will begin to transfer COVID healthcare to private insurance and government health plans. Sources: Democrats defy 'red wave' forecasts to keep Senate control | Reuters Funds vanish at bankrupt crypto exchange FTX; probe underway | AP News U.S COVID public health emergency to stay in place | Nasdaq
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zrodom
Nov 07, 2022
In Global News
North Korea fires more missiles as U.S. flies bombers over South: South Korea scrambled 80 aircraft, including F-35A stealth fighters, after detecting about 180 North Korean military flights north of the two countries’ border. Handout | Getty Images News | Getty Images On Saturday, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the sea as the United States sent two supersonic bombers streaking over South Korea in opposing displays of military might. The North has test-fired more than 30 missiles this week, including an intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday that triggered evacuation alerts in northern Japan, and flew large numbers of warplanes inside its territory in an angry reaction to a massive combined aerial exercise between the United States and South Korea. The South Korean military said two B-1B bombers trained with four U.S. F-16 fighter jets and four South Korean F-35 jets during the last day of the “Vigilant Storm” joint air force drills that wraps up Saturday. It marked the first time since December 2017 that the bombers were deployed to the Korean Peninsula. The exercise involved around 240 warplanes, including advanced F-35 fighter jets from both countries. North Korea hates such displays of American military might at close range, which it says create a seriously “unstable atmosphere” in the region. Iran acknowledges sending drones to Russia for first time: This undated photograph released by the Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate shows the wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupyansk, Ukraine. (Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate via AP, File) On Saturday, Iran’s foreign minister acknowledged for the first time that his country has supplied Russia with drones, insisting the transfer came before Moscow’s war on Ukraine that has seen the Iranian-made drones used in bombing Kyiv. The comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian come after months of confusing messaging from Iran about the weapons shipment, as Russia has been using them to target Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets. Previously, Iranian officials had denied arming Russia in its war on Ukraine. Just earlier this week, Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Amir Saeid Iravani called the allegations “totally unfounded” and reiterated Iran’s position of neutrality in the war. Even so, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has vaguely boasted of providing drones to the world’s top powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has extolled the efficacy of the drones and mocked Western hand-wringing over their danger. During state-backed demonstrations to mark the 1979 US Embassy takeover on Friday, crowds waved placards of the triangle-shaped drones as a point of national pride. As he acknowledged the shipment, Amirabdollahian claimed on Saturday that Iran was oblivious to the use of its drones in Ukraine. He said Iran remained committed to stopping the conflict. Rail resumes between Russia and North Korea, with 30 horses on first train: Former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's train at Khasan station, near Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok, in August 2011. | REUTERS Russia and North Korea have restarted train travel for the first time since railway journeys were cut during the COVID-19 pandemic. A freight train, carrying 30 thoroughbred Orlov Trotter horses, left Russia’s far east through the Khasan-Tumangan crossing, according to Russia’s veterinary service. The Orlov Trotter is Russia’s most famous horse and is known, according to the veterinary service, for its scampering trot. “The animals, 5 stallions, 25 mares, were quarantined in the city of Suzdal, Vladimir region, and then arrived at the Khasan railway checkpoint in three specially equipped trucks for subsequent shipment to the DPRK,” Russia’s state veterinary service said in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea’s full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Russia’s RIA state news agency said the journey marked the first train to travel to North Korea since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in 2020. It said medicines would follow in later cargoes. It was not immediately clear why 30 Orlov Trotter thoroughbreds were needed in North Korea, though it may be related to Kim Jong Un being a keen horseman. Russian customs data shows North Korea has spent thousands of dollars on thoroughbred horses from Russia in previous years. Sources: North Korea fires more missiles as U.S. flies bombers over South Iran acknowledges sending drones to Russia for first time | AP News Rail resumes between Russia and North Korea, with 30 horses on first train | The Japan Times
Global News Summary: (10/31-11/6) content media
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zrodom
Nov 07, 2022
In Domestic News
Lawsuit seeks to block counting of military ballots in Wisconsin: A wooden gavel and block is seen inside the Senate Hart Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes) Last week, Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R), the chairwoman of Wisconsin’s Assembly's elections committee, received three military ballots under fictitious names that were allegedly sent to her by Kimberly Zapata, a Milwaukee election official. Election officials have criticized Brandtjen for spreading false claims about the system, and Zapata later told prosecutors she was trying to alert Brandtjen about an actual weakness in the state's voting system that should be addressed. Days later Zapata was fired and charged with a felony and three misdemeanors. Unlike most states, Wisconsin allows military members to cast ballots without registering to vote or providing proof of residency. Military ballots make up a tiny fraction of votes in Wisconsin — about 1,400 so far for Tuesday's election. Now Brandtjen is suing to prevent the immediate counting of military ballots in her state. She and her allies are using the incident to argue that military ballots should not be counted unless election officials can show they complied with a state law requiring them to maintain lists of all eligible military voters. Brandtjen's attorney, Erick Kaardal of the conservative Thomas More Society, said state officials have handled elections in a way that is "conducive to vote fraud." US faces highest flu hospitalization rate in a decade with young kids and seniors most at risk: A nurse administers a flu vaccination shot to a woman at a free clinic held at a local library on October 14, 2020 in Lakewood, California. Mario Tama | Getty Images According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the US is facing its highest flu hospitalization rates in over a decade with children and the elderly being most at risk. Flu and respiratory syncytial virus abated during the COVID-19 pandemic due to mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing, but now the viruses are staging a major comeback. At least 1.6 million people have fallen ill with the flu so far this season, 13,000 people have been hospitalized, and 730 have died, according to CDC data. In the Southeastern US, about 20% of respiratory samples are testing positive for H3N2, a strain of the flu associated with more severe illness in children and the elderly, Dr. Jose Romero said. Mitigation measures implemented during Covid left large portions of the US population uninfected with other common respiratory viruses, consequently allowing these viruses to now be surging as young children in particular lack immunity from prior infections. The federal government is prepared to send medical teams and provide supplies from the strategic national stockpile if hospitals are stretched beyond capacity, according to Dawn O’Connell, a senior official at the Health and Human Services Department. No state has requested such support so far, O’Connell said. US Congress split on making daylight-saving time permanent: Employees with the Architect of the Capitol wind the Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, US, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts A push in the US Congress to make daylight-saving time permanent, which was unanimously passed by the Senate earlier this year, has stalled in the House, with a key lawmaker telling Reuters they have been unable to reach consensus. US Representative Frank Pallone, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee that has jurisdiction over the issue, said in a statement to Reuters the House is still trying to figure out how to move forward. "We haven’t been able to find consensus in the House on this yet. There are a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be," Pallone, a Democrat, said, adding that opinions breakdown by region, not by party. Legislative aides told Reuters they do not expect Congress to reach agreement before the end of the year. Supporters in the Senate would need to reintroduce the bill next year if it is not approved by the end of the year. Supporters of the change argue that if approved, the so-called Sunshine Protection Act would allow children to play outdoors later, and reduce seasonal depression. It would also prevent a slight uptick in car crashes that typically occurs around time changes -- notably crashes with deer. Critics, including the National Association of Convenience Stores, say it will force many children to walk to school in darkness during the winter, since the measure would delay sunrise by an hour in some places. Sources: Lawsuit seeks to block counting of military ballots in Wisconsin | Stars and Stripes U.S. faces highest flu hospitalization rate in a decade with young kids and seniors most at risk U.S. Congress split on making daylight-saving time permanent | Reuters
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