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Omicron Variant Reached Europe Earlier Than Previously Thought

AP News | Equities.com |

Economic powerhouses Japan and France reported their first cases of the omicron variant Tuesday, while new findings indicate the mutant coronavirus was already in Europe close to a week before South Africa sounded the alarm.

The Netherlands’ RIVM health institute disclosed that patient samples dating from Nov. 19 and 23 were found to contain the variant. It was last Wednesday, Nov. 24, that South African authorities reported the existence of the highly mutated virus to the World Health Organization.


Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows To Cooperate With House Panel Investigating Jan. 6 Insurrection

AP News | Equities.com |

Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, is cooperating with a House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, putting off for now the panel’s threat to hold him in contempt, the committee’s chairman said Tuesday.

The panel “will continue to assess his degree of compliance,” Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a statement. He said Meadows has produced records and will soon appear for an initial deposition.


Jeff Bezos Donates $100 Million to Obama Foundation To Honor of Congressman John Lewis

Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos donated $100 million to former President Barack Obama’s foundation in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis, a key figure in the US civil rights movement.

The foundation said it is the largest individual contribution it has received to date and included a request from the billionaire that the plaza at the Obama Presidential Center under construction in Chicago be named after Lewis.


Workers at Companies With at Least 100 People Must Be Vaccinated By January 4 or Get Weekly Tests

AP News | Equities.com |

Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly under government rules issued Thursday.

The new requirements are the Biden administration’s boldest move yet to persuade reluctant Americans to finally get a vaccine that has been widely available for months -- or face financial consequences. If successful, administration officials believe it will go a long way toward ending a pandemic that has killed more than 750,000 Americans.


Republican Glenn Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor Race

AP News | Equities.com |

Republican Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race early Wednesday, tapping into culture war fights over schools and race to unite former President Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters with enough suburban voters to become the first GOP candidate to win statewide office in a dozen years.

The 54-year-old Youngkin’s defeat of Democrat Terry McAuliffe marked a sharp turnabout in a state that had shifted to the left over the past decade and which President Joe Biden captured by 10 points in 2020. And as the party felt the sting from that loss, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey was virtually deadlocked in his bid to win reelection in a state Biden won by 15 points.


California Proposes Oil and Gas Drilling Buffer Zone Around Communities

Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a statewide ban on oil and gas drilling within 3,200 feet of homes, schools and hospitals in order to protect public health and further its goal to combat climate change.

The draft rules, released last week by the state’s oil regulator California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), aim to create what would be the largest buffer zone in the country. Existing wells in those setback areas would not be banned, but subject to stricter regulation.


California To Ban Sales of Gasoline-Powered Lawn Equipment

Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

California will soon ban the sale of new, gas-powered lawn equipment, the state’s latest move to curb emissions.

Under the law signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was directed to phase out the sale of small off-road engines by 2024 or as soon as feasible, whichever comes later.


Leaked 'Pandora Papers' Reveal How World Leaders and Billionaires Shield Assets From Tax Collectors

AP News | Equities.com |

Calls grew Monday for an end to the financial secrecy and shell companies that have allowed many of the world’s richest and most powerful people to hide their wealth from tax collectors.

The outcry came after a report revealed the way that world leaders, billionaires and others have used offshore accounts to keep trillions of dollars out of government treasuries over the past quarter-century, limiting the resources that could be put to work helping the poor or combating climate change.


President Biden Hosting Leaders From India, Japan, Australia Friday in First 'Quad' Summit

AP News | Equities.com |

President Joe Biden on Friday is set to host the first in-person gathering of leaders of an Indo-Pacific alliance known as “the Quad” as he wraps up a difficult week of diplomacy after facing no shortage of criticism from allies and adversaries.

The White House meeting with leaders from India, Japan and Australia gives Biden a chance to put the spotlight on a chief foreign policy goal: greater attention to the Pacific in light of what the United States sees as China’s coercive economic practices and unsettling military maneuvering in the region.


Some Chinese Banks Stop Offering New Credit to Property Developers Amid Evergrande Scare

Reuters | Equities.com |

As fears of contagion from any default by China Evergrande Group mounted this month, some Chinese banks, insurers, and shadow banks stopped offering new credit to property developers, and ran urgent checks on their exposure to the troubled sector.

Carrying $305 billion in liabilities, China's second biggest property developer inched closer to a potential default on Friday by missing the deadline on an interest payment.


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