Update on the latest cases:
Stocks lose momentum
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks lost momentum in afternoon trading on Wall Street, putting the S&P 500 just below the record it set on Monday. The S&P 500 was down less than 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2%, and the Nasdaq was down 0.4%. All three indices started the day slightly in the green. Retailers and businesses reliant on consumer spending were also among the top performers coming out of the Christmas shopping season. With three trading days remaining in the year, the S&P 500 is heading for a gain of over 27% for 2021, almost as large as its gain for 2019.
WHO chief worries about ‘tsunami’ of omicron and delta cases
BERLIN (AP) – The head of the World Health Organization says he is concerned about the combination of the omicron and delta variants of COVID-19 to produce a “tsunami” of cases. Two years after the outbreak of the coronavirus, senior officials at the United Nations health agency warned on Wednesday that it was still too early to be reassured by the first data suggesting that omicron, the latest variant, was leading to milder disease. And after 92 of WHO’s 194 member countries missed the goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of this year, the agency chief urged everyone to make a “resolution of the new year “to support a vaccination campaign in 70% of countries. ‘populations at the beginning of July.
VIRUS OUTBREAK IN THE UNITED STATES
In US, new COVID-19 cases reach highest levels on record
CHICAGO (AP) – More than a year after the vaccine was deployed, new cases of COVID-19 in the United States have reached the highest level on record with more than 265,000 per day on average. The outbreak was largely due to the highly contagious variant of omicron. The previous mark was 250,000 cases per day, set for mid-January, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.
VIRUS EPIDEMIC FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS
Widespread flight cancellations continue as omicron spreads
NEW YORK (AP) – Hundreds of flights are canceled as the omicron variant wreaks havoc on both travelers and airlines who have to tinker with flight crews as infections rise among pilots and flight attendants . According to data from flight tracking site FlightAware, 832 flights were canceled at noon on Wednesday and that number has increased throughout the day. There were nearly 1,300 cancellations of flights entering, leaving or within the United States on Tuesday and approximately 1,500 on Monday. Cancellations began to increase on Christmas Eve at a rate usually already buzzing for airlines.
Belgium overturns COVID cultural rules: the show must continue!
BRUSSELS (AP) – The Belgian authorities have authorized the reopening of cinemas, theaters and concert halls. Wednesday’s decision gave the victory to the cultural sector, which said it was unfairly covered by the rules. The government and regional authorities have come under increasing pressure to reverse last week’s decision on the closures. It was not even supported by scientific experts. He highlighted the growing fault line between authorities trying to hold the pandemic at bay with on-the-spot decisions and a public increasingly frustrated by the limits of their personal freedoms.
The lawsuits against the owners of OxyContin are suspended; orderly negotiations
WITHOUT DATE (AP) – A judge has stayed the lawsuits against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family who own it until February 1, but ordered the parties to negotiate a new settlement. Connecticut and Washington state argued Wednesday that lawsuits against the Sacklers should be allowed immediately. The litigation stay was set to expire Thursday after another judge dismissed a settlement of thousands of opioid toll lawsuits. The company said it would appeal the decision. Judge Robert Drain warned Wednesday that if there were no “good faith” settlement negotiations quickly, he would end protections for members of the Sackler family even sooner.
New Mexico tribes worried about nuclear lab power project
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – Indigenous leaders in New Mexico are concerned about a multimillion-dollar transmission line project that would cross what they consider sacred land. The transmission line would bring more electricity to one of the nation’s best nuclear weapons labs, as it seeks to power ongoing operations and future missions that include manufacturing key components for America’s nuclear arsenal. The line would stretch for over 12 miles, crossing national forest land in an area known as Caja del Rio and spanning the Rio Grande at White Rock Canyon. The Board of Governors of All Pueblo adopted a resolution to support the preservation of the Caja del Rio.
Putin: new pipeline to Germany could help cut prices
MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that a new gas pipeline to Germany has been completely filled with natural gas. Putin noted that this could help reduce the spike in energy prices in Europe quickly. The $ 11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline is currently awaiting approval from Germany and the European Union. Officials have warned that a decision will not come in the first half of 2022. The first of his two links was gas-filled in October. Russian state-controlled natural gas company Gazprom said on Wednesday it had completed filling the second to make it fully operational. Putin pointed to the skyrocketing energy prices in Europe. He added that Nord Stream 2 could help stabilize the continent’s nervous energy markets quickly.
Indonesia to let Boeing 737 Max fly again after 2018 crash
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesia is lifting its ban on the Boeing 737 Max plane, three years after one crashed shortly after take-off, killing all 189 people on board. The transport ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the plane would be allowed to fly in Indonesia, but only after airlines enforce airworthiness directives. The ministry will also carry out inspections before letting them operate in the country. Some relatives of victims of the 2018 crash said the decision to lift the ban on the 737 Max was regrettable. Families of some crash victims have complained that a $ 2.5 billion settlement between Boeing and the U.S. Department of Justice excluded them from negotiating their compensation.
Autonomous Trucker TuSimple Records First Human-Free Test Drive
NEW YORK (AP) – A technology-guided semi-trailer from the TuSimple company traveled an 80-mile route in Arizona with no one on board and no human intervention during the trip, according to the San Diego-based company TuSimple. The company claims it is the first fully autonomous vehicle successful with a Class 8, or semi, vehicle on open public roads without human intervention. The overnight trip earlier this month began at a rail yard in Tucson, Ariz., And ended at a distribution center in Phoenix with the approval and supervision of the Arizona Department of Transportation and law enforcement. Founded in 2015, TuSimple claims to have 70 autonomous trucks around the world.
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