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U.S. to lift travel ban on 8 southern African countries

WASHINGTON — The U.S. will lift travel restrictions to eight southern African countries on New Year's Eve, the White House announced Friday. The restrictions, imposed last month, were meant to blunt the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant. The Nov. 2

3rd Florida-based ship has COVID outbreak as state cases rise

MIAMI — A COVID-19 outbreak took place on a South Florida-based cruise ship for the third time this week, as the number of coronavirus cases in Florida hit its second-highest level since the start of the pandemic. An undisclosed number of passengers an

Dutch prosecutors demand life sentences in MH17 downing

SCHIPHOL, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch prosecutors on Wednesday demanded life sentences for four suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, saying they caused “deep and irreversible suffering” to relat

Germany clamps down on New Year's parties to tame omicron

BERLIN (AP) — Germany announced new restrictions Tuesday that will begin after Christmas to slow the spread of the new omicron variant, rules that will fall short of a full lockdown but will include contact restrictions even for vaccinated people. &ldqu

Israel to ban travel to U.S., Canada over omicron variant

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli ministers on Monday agreed to ban travel to the United States, Canada and eight other countries amid the rapid, global spread of the omicron variant. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announced the decision followin

Germany tightens travel restrictions on visitors from UK

VIENNA — Germany is tightening travel restrictions for people coming from Britain in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant there. The country’s national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, added Britain to its list of

France bans nonessential travel from the U.K., fearing omicron surge

France will ban nonessential travel from the U.K. on Saturday to try and slow the omicron variant that is surging on the other side of the English Channel. It is a sign that European countries are tightening rules on each other after early travel bans focuse

Powerful typhoon hits Philippines; nearly 100,000 evacuated

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A powerful typhoon slammed into the southeastern Philippines on Thursday and was blowing across island provinces where nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated from high-risk areas that could be devastated by flash floods, la

Airline chiefs suggest masks on planes not needed for COVID-19 protection

The chiefs of United Airlines and American Airlines told lawmakers Wednesday that the federal mask mandate doesn’t give passengers much extra protection from COVID-19 on flights, while the head of a flight attendants union called for a crackdown on airp

Amtrak scales back COVID-19 vaccine mandate amid court order, fears of service cuts

Amtrak is backtracking on its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees after a court decision prompted it to reevaluate its policy and take steps to avoid service cuts the rules might have caused. Its chief executive officer, William J. Flynn, said the rail ser

Metro to return 7000-series rail cars to service

The Washington-area’s Metro system said Tuesday that a safety commission has accepted its plan to phase back into service the 7000-series railcars, which make up most of the fleet and were taken off the tracks following a derailment in October. The Wash

Bailed-out airline chiefs face lawmakers amid rising cancellations, soaring complaints

The top executives of three airlines will tell Congress on Wednesday how the carriers spent $54 billion in COVID-19 government aid, and why they are still grappling with thousands of canceled flights, staffing shortages and frustrated customers who can’

Israel's Bennett to make first official visit to UAE

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday made a historic trip to the United Arab Emirates, the first visit by an Israeli premier, as part of a blitz of regional diplomacy against the backdrop of struggling nuclear talks with Iran. Is

Brazil justice rules vaccine passport mandatory for visitors

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ruled Saturday that all travelers arriving in Brazil must present a vaccine passport documenting they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The decision from Luís Roberto Barroso cha

NFL, TV's Michael Strahan flies in space with astronaut's daughter

Football star and TV celebrity Michael Strahan caught a ride to space with Jeff Bezos’ rocket-launching company Saturday, sharing the trip with the daughter of America’s first astronaut. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket blasted off from Wes

'Bah-boom, bah-boom': Acorn-ucopia of food fattens squirrels

DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — Humans aren't the only species packing on extra pounds during the pandemic. Some squirrels are letting themselves go, too. Many squirrels are eating well this fall in New England. But one portly squirrel is so big it earned the nic

Amtrak CEO confirms service cuts due to Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Amtrak's president admitted to Congress on Thursday that its travelers will face service cuts and delays this winter as a consequence of President Biden's national COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Stephen Gardner told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Comm

As storms start, U.S. states struggle to hire snowplow drivers

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — More U.S. drivers could find themselves stuck on snowy highways or have their travel delayed this winter due to a shortage of snowplow drivers - a reality that could hit home Friday as winter storms start dumping snow from the Inter

Metropolitan Museum of Art cuts Sackler family name from seven exhibition spaces

NEW YORK (AP) - The Metropolitan Museum of Art is dropping the Sackler name from seven exhibition spaces amid growing outrage over the role the family may have played in the opioid crisis. The New York museum and the Sackler family jointly announced on Thursd

Airlines face holiday test as demand surges

The airline industry’s recovery is being tested this holiday season as passengers return in near pre-pandemic numbers. The resurgence in air travel is being fueled by pent-up demand and the availability of vaccines, along with an apparent lull in virus

China dismisses U.K., Canada Olympic boycott as 'farce'

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday dismissed the decision by Canada and the United Kingdom to join Washington’s diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games as a “farce.” China is also unconcerned the officials' absence wo

Museum to fix 'ripples' in Rembrandt's 'Night Watch'

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Rembrandt van Rijn's iconic painting “The Night Watch” will be restretched to get rid of deformations in its top left corner, the Netherlands’ national museum announced Wednesday. The 379.5x453.5-centimete

Leaders: Africa's COVID-19 fight is vital for world security

DIAMNIADIO, Senegal (AP) – Travel restrictions imposed on South Africa and other African nations for telling the world about the omicron variant are hypocritical, harsh and not supported by science, South Africa's president said Monday, recalling the ph

Fauci: Early omicron reports encouraging about covid variant

U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Jo

U.K. tightens travel testing rules amid omicron concerns

LONDON (AP) — Britain's government tightened travel restrictions Saturday amid concerns about the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, saying all travelers arriving in England will need to take a COVID-19 test before they board their flight. Healt

Omicron variant detected in Colorado

DENVER — Colorado became the third U.S. state to detect a case of the omicron variant in a woman who had recently traveled to Africa, state health officials announced Thursday. The Colorado case comes after two other confirmed omicron variant cases wer

U.S., EU and allies hit Belarus with coordinated sanctions

BRUSSELS (AP) – The United States, European Union, Britain and Canada on Thursday slapped simultaneous sanctions on dozens of officials, organizations and companies in Belarus, with the EU taking aim at those accused of taking part in a “hybrid at

China clears Boeing 737 Max to fly again

BEIJING (AP) — China’s aviation regulator cleared the Boeing 737 Max on Thursday to return to flying with technical upgrades more than two years after the plane was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes. China is the last major market whe

Joe Biden considering new travel rules to deal with omicron variant: Report

President Biden is reportedly considering stricter requirements on travelers entering the U.S. as he preps a Thursday speech on ways to stave off a winter COVID-19 spike and deal with the omicron threat. The draft proposals, first reported by The Washington P

Japan suspends new reservations on all incoming flights

TOKYO (AP) — Japan continued its aggressive stance against a new coronavirus variant on Wednesday, asking international airlines to stop taking new reservations for all flights arriving in the country until the end of December in a further tightening o

Biden's new COVID-19 travel ban ignores southern border

As President Biden’s new coronavirus travel ban took effect Monday, security experts say he’s left a glaring hole in his scheme: the southern border.  Visitors coming from South Africa and seven other African nations are now banned from tryin

Swiss officials warn COVID-19 rules threaten sports events

BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic officials in Switzerland urged the federal government Tuesday to exempt international athletes and officials from new quarantine rules that threaten the hosting of World Cup events in winter sports. People arriving from

Barbados bids farewell to British monarchy, becomes republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Barbados stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history. Several leaders, dignitaries and artists, including P

Barbados says goodbye to queen, transforms into republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Barbados stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history. Several leaders and dignitaries, including Prince Cha

'Gifts from the Heart' is Biden White House Christmas theme

WASHINGTON (AP) – “Gifts from the Heart” is the theme of President Joe Biden's first White House Christmas. First lady Jill Biden was scheduled on Monday to unveil decorations matching the theme, said to be inspired by people the couple met

WHO criticizes travel bans on southern African countries

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – The World Health Organization on Sunday urged countries around the world not to impose flight bans on southern African nations due to concerns over the new omicron variant. WHO's regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, calle

Bob Dylan artwork show opens in Miami, new cinema paintings

MIAMI (AP) — Bob Dylan has been telling stories through songs for 60 years. But recently America’s master lyricist has also captured moments in a new series of paintings that, just like his songs, are intimate and a bit of a mystery. The most comp

U.K. becomes latest country to confirm omicron variant of the coronavirus

Two people in the United Kingdom have tested positive with the omicron variant of the coronavirus, a new contagious strain that has spurred governments to shut down travel from southern Africa.  U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Saturday tha

EU orders travel ban on South Africa to halt variant spread

BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union nations on Friday agreed to impose a ban on travel from southern Africa to counter the spread of a new COVID-19 variant. The 27 nations acted within hours upon the advice of the EU executive which said all needed to be

World takes action as new coronavirus variant emerges in southern Africa

BRUSSELS (AP) — A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday, and stocks plunged in Asia and Europe in reaction to news of a new, potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variant. “The last thing we need is to bring in
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