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Thursday, Dec 08th

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Drop in COVID alertness could create deadly new variant - WHO

WHOLapses in strategies to tackle COVID-19 this year continue to create the perfect conditions for a deadly new variant to emerge, as parts of China witness a rise in infections, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The comments by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mark a change in tone just months after he said that the world has never been in a better position to end the pandemic.

"We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over, but we're not there yet," Tedros said on Friday.

The global health agency estimates that about 90% of the world's population now has some level of immunity to SARS-COV-2 either due to prior infection or vaccination.

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Alex Jones Files For Bankruptcy After Massive Sandy Hook Lawsuit Defeat

Alex Jones files for bankruptsy

Infowars host Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy in his home state of Texas on Friday after courts ordered him to pay nearly $1.5 billion for capitalizing on falsehoods about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

The conspiracy theorist filed for Chapter 11 protection in the Southern District of Texas, court documents show.

Courts have repeatedly ruled against Jones in recent months, sticking him with orders to pay a massive amount of money from the various lawsuits. After a Texas court said he owed more than $45 million in August, Jones was saddled with $965 million in damages in October thanks to a Connecticut court, followed by a Connecticut judge’s order to pay up an additional $473 million.

Since a gunman stormed the Newtown, Connecticut, school to murder 20 first graders and six educators, Jones has been telling his audience that the shooting was probably staged and that the grieving family members of the victims were actors.

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Russian warship deployment puts Ukraine on high alert

Ukrainian tanks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday night that the country’s armed forces are preparing a “countermeasure” to Russia’s offensive operations.

“We are analyzing the intentions of the occupiers and are preparing a countermeasure - an even more powerful countermeasure than it’s been,” he said in his nightly address.

Zelenskyy did not elaborate on what the countermeasures would look like. Since September, Ukraine has retaken some parts of the country seized by Russian forces earlier this year, particularly around the regions of Kharkiv in the northeast and Kherson in the south.

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Baseball great Gaylord Perry, a two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

Gaylord Perry dies at 84Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball and telling stories about the pitch, died Thursday. He was 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney at about 5 a.m. Thursday, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details. A statement from the Perry family said he "passed away peacefully at his home after a short illness."

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 after a 24-16 season and with San Diego in 1978 — going 21-6 for his fifth and final 20-win season just after turning 40.

"Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old — I didn't think the writers would vote for me," Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. "But they voted on my performance, so I won it."

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Biden and Macron seek to heal trade rift and present united front on Ukraine

Biden and Macron

Joe Biden has sought to heal a rift with France’s President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders over trade, admitting there are “glitches” in $739bn legislation that he says can be fixed.

The US president was speaking on Thursday while hosting Macron for the first state visit of his presidency. The leaders expressed unity on support for Ukraine’s war against Russia but faced questions about their differences on trade.

America’s Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, is set to pour billions of dollars into environmentally friendly industries, with strong backing for American-based manufacturers. The White House touts the IRA as a groundbreaking effort to restart domestic manufacturing and promote renewable technologies while challenging Chinese dominance.

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Judge Orders Arizona County To Immediately Certify Election Results

Kari LakeAn Arizona judge on Thursday ordered Cochise County officials to certify the midterm election results by the end of the day, saying Republican supervisors broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by this week’s deadline.

Two Republicans on the county’s three-member board of supervisors have not cited any problems with the election results. Rather, they say they aren’t satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials have said they were.

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Senate votes to avert costly rail strike

Senate votes to avert rail strikeThe Senate voted Thursday to avert a costly nationwide rail strike next week that lawmakers in both parties worried would shut down much of the economy and further add to inflation.

Senators voted 80 to 15 for a House-passed bill to implement the labor agreement between freight rail carriers and unionized workers brokered by the Biden administration.

But senators rejected a proposal to add seven days of paid sick leave to the agreement, which four rail unions demanded.

By intervening, Congress will avert the threat of a national rail shutdown that would have ravaged supply chains and brought significant portions of the economy to a halt in the middle of the holidays.

Roughly one-third of U.S. cargo is transported by rail and truckers would not be able to take on more capacity.

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Appeals court halts Trump special master appointment in Mar-a-Lago case

special master removed in Trump Mar-a-lago case

An appeals court on Thursday ruled that the appointment of a special master after the search of former President Trump’s Florida home was improper, determining that a lower court could not limit the Justice Department investigation into the mishandling of White House records at Mar-a-Lago.

“The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so,” a three-judge panel wrote for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling paves the way for the release of some 22,000 pages of government documents stored at Trump’s Florida home to Justice Department investigators, potentially speeding any eventual prosecutions.

It’s also a major loss for Trump, who sought to challenge the approval of a warrant to search his home.

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Coterra Energy to pay $16.29 mln for Pennsylvania water contamination plea

Coterra Energy to pay $16.29million U.S. shale producer Coterra Energy (CTRA.N) pleaded no contest for contaminating well water in Dimock, Pennsylvania, and will pay $16.29 million to construct a new means of water supply to its residents, the state attorney general said on Tuesday.

The Houston-based company, formerly known as Cabot Oil and Gas, will also make 75 years of water bills payments for the impacted residents, who were exposed to drinking water polluted with metals and high levels of methane.

"Under this historic settlement, Coterra will now pay to build a new public water line that will provide clean, reliable drinking water for generations to come," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

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