LONDON (AP) — The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread.
BRUSSELS (AP) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is racing to contain a new coronavirus variant potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The last holiday season was far from the most wonderful time of the year for the U.S. Postal Service: Sick and quarantined workers, a flood of packages from shoppers loath to set foot in stores and a last-minute dump of packages from overwhelmed private shippers.
NEW YORK (AP) — On this year's Black Friday, things almost seem normal.
Malls and stores report decent-sized crowds, if not the floods of people that used to fight over the latest toys and electronics — online shopping is much too common for that now, and discounts are both more subdued and spread out over the weeks leading up to Christmas, on both websites and in stores.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street Friday after South Africa found a fast-spreading coronavirus variant and the European Union proposed suspending air travel from southern Africa.
NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian government has asked Starlink Internet Services of Elon Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company to comply with the country’s regulatory framework before offering its satellite-based internet services.
Federal health regulators say an experimental COVID-19 pill from Merck is effective against the virus, but they will seek input from outside experts on risks of birth defects and other potential problems during pregnancy.
LE GOSIER, Guadeloupe (AP) — France’s government is offering to discuss some autonomy for the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which has been wracked by virus-related rioting and strikes that reflect long-running frustrations over inequality with the French mainland.
A new coronavirus variant identified in southern Africa is leading to a new round of travel restrictions just as many had finally begun to ease.
HAYDEN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama sheriff is trying to figure out how hundreds of FedEx packages ended up dumped in the woods.
An estimated 300 to 400 packages of various sizes were found in a ravine near the small town of Hayden on Wednesday, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A security guard has died after he was shot while he protected a San Francisco Bay Area television news crew covering a smash-and-grab theft, part of a rash of organized retail crime in the region.
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Police in Washington state on Saturday were investigating a shooting at a shopping mall that left one person seriously wounded and sent hundreds of Black Friday shoppers fleeing for exits or hiding in stores.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is soaring, businesses are struggling to hire and President Joe Biden’s poll numbers have been in free fall.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Construction companies that are awarded contracts by the state of Virginia are struggling to find subcontractors that are certified as small businesses or firms that are owned by minorities or women, according to state-sponsored working group.
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Ports in California have been making headlines for their delays and supply chain backups. But the Port of Virginia has been running smoothly and outperforming other major ports on East Coast.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Skirmishes on Saturday erupted in Serbia between police and anti-government demonstrators who blocked roads and bridges in the Balkan country in protest against new laws they say favor interests of foreign investors devastating the environment.
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Saturday ordered five people to remain in pre-trial detention for two months pending an investigation into a devastating blast in a coal mine in Siberia that resulted in dozens of deaths.
CALAIS, France (AP) — The price to cross the English Channel varies according to the network of smugglers, between 3,000 and 7,000 euros ($3,380 and $8,000) though there are rumors of discounts.
Often, the fee also includes a very short-term tent rental in the windy dunes of northern France and food cooked over fires that sputter in the rain that falls for more than half the month of November in the Calais region.
FOLSOM, Calif. (AP) — The Hampton Inn in Folsom, California, has 147 rooms, but General Manager Enid Baldock could only rent 117 of them recently because she did not have enough workers to clean them.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Nearly $1.4 million in federal funding has been approved to help Michigan’s meat and poultry processors recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and expand their processing capacity.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An oil tanker hit an offshore oil platform at night off Louisiana because its Turkish operating company didn’t give the ship’s master time to recover from days of sleepless travel, federal investigators have found.
BUCKSPORT, Maine (AP) — A proposed salmon farm located at the site of the former Verso paper mill in Bucksport has not started construction despite receiving the necessary permits two years ago.
BEIJING (AP) — Macao police on Saturday detained the head of Macao’s biggest casino junket organizer and others after Chinese authorities issued an arrest warrant for them over accusations that they ran an illegal cross-border gambling syndicate.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s new law on working from home makes the European Union country sound like a workers’ paradise.
Companies can’t attempt to contact their staff outside working hours.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three state watchdog offices have dismissed a nonprofit group's complaints accusing New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas of ethics violations in connection with a proposed merger involving the state's largest utility company.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Officials say Nevada's share of new funding provided by the recently approved federal infrastructure legislation likely will help pay for a range of projects, including expansions of the freeway system, transit improvements and new technology to connect mobility systems.
HONOLULU (AP) — A food distributor in Hawaii has filed a federal lawsuit against a dairy company because milk from the mainland is allegedly being sold under a name that advertises local ties.
NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — President Joe Biden appeared on the loose Friday in Nantucket.
Biden spent more than an hour walking around downtown Nantucket's cobblestone streets, popping unannounced into quaint mom-and-pop shops, appearing to make purchases and posing for photos with surprised business owners.
GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization is postponing its conference of government ministers set to open Tuesday after Switzerland initiated new travel restrictions following the emergence of a worrying new coronavirus variant, officials said.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The value of livestock killed by predators such as grizzly bears and wolves is expected to exceed the budget for compensating ranchers for such losses this year, the Montana Livestock Loss Board said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday recommended an overhaul of the nation's oil and gas leasing program to limit areas available for energy development and raise costs for oil and gas companies to drill on public land and water.
Climate activists blockaded Amazon warehouses in three European countries on Friday, part of a global effort to pressure the ecommerce giant on one of its busiest days of the year to improve working conditions and end business practices that hurt the environment.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for January delivery fell $10.24 to $68.15 a barrel Friday. Brent crude for January delivery fell $9.50 to $72.72 per barrel.
Wholesale gasoline for December delivery fell 29 cents to $2.03 a gallon.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's government launched measures on Friday to discourage foreign travel as a way to protect the country's thin dollar reserves ahead of heavy debt payments.
The Central Bank banned use of credit card installment payments for airline flights and other tourist services abroad.
Stocks sink on new COVID variant; Dow loses 905 points
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks sank Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly falling more than 1,000 points, as a new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa appeared to be spreading across the globe.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A group of cancer doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina took confidential information to a competitor in an effort to establish a new treatment facility, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia officials struggling to distribute federal funds to prevent evictions have outlined plans to increase the speed at which they get the money to landlords and renters.
The improvement plans were submitted last week to the U.S.
Stocks ended with scant gains after another wobbly day of trading on Wall Street Wednesday as the market Stocks closed sharply lower after a coronavirus variant from South Africa appeared to be spreading across the globe.
Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Friday:
Moderna, Inc., up $56.24 to $329.63.
Stocks in companies that make vaccines against COVID-19 soared as a new variant emerged.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The city of Boise is looking to expand its geothermal heating system by 40% as part of a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.
The city pumps 250 gallons (946 liters) of geothermal water to 96 buildings through 21 miles of pipes (34 kilometers).
NEW DELHI (AP) — The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine maker, resumed exports of coronavirus vaccines to the U.N.-backed COVAX distribution program on Friday after halting most overseas sales in March.
CALAIS, France (AP) — French fishing crews briefly blocked French ports, ferry traffic across the English Channel and the freight entrance to the Eurotunnel on Friday to disrupt the flow of goods to the U.K., in a protest over post-Brexit fishing licenses.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa motorists will soon have the option of keeping their driver's license on their phones.
State officials have begun a pilot project to make digital driver's licenses, or “mobile IDs,” available for download via smartphone apps sometime in 2022, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported Friday.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's largest electric utility is seeking regulatory approval to raise its rates 1% every year until 2029 to pay for an $1.9 billion upgrade aimed at hardening its electric grid against severe weather.
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's government refused to back calls Friday for a swift and sharp lockdown to curb the country's worsening coronavirus situation, which saw daily confirmed cases hit a new peak and is putting hospitals under severe strain.
DETROIT (AP) — The FBI’s confirmation last week that it was looking at a spot near a New Jersey landfill as the possible burial site of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa is the latest development in a search that began when he disappeared in 1975.
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said on Friday that it will ease its restrictions on exporting COVID-19 vaccines.
The Commission, the EU's executive arm, said that as of January it will no longer require vaccine producers to request special authorization to export outside the 27-nation bloc.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A surge in the catch of a small species of fish called menhaden off the Maine coast has helped stabilize a bait crunch that's plagued the state's lobster industry for several years.
BEIRUT (AP) — A small group of protesters broke into a ministry building in Beirut early on Friday and removed a photo of the president from one of its main rooms, as the Lebanese pound hit a new low amid a worsening economic and political stalemate.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Cabinet on Friday approved a 770 billion yen ($6.8 billion) request for an extra defense budget through March to expedite the purchase of missiles, anti-submarine rockets and other weapons amid rising concern over the escalation of military activities by China, Russia and North Korea.