U.S. fuel retailers rail against green aviation fuel tax credit

U.S. fuel retailers rail against green aviation fuel tax credit

U.S. fuel retailers are fighting the inclusion of a tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Democrats' $430 billion spending bill, arguing SAF is more carbon intense and less efficient than renewable diesel. Lawmakers are offering a $1.25-$1.75 per gallon SAF credit depending on the feedstock used, as part of a tax and climate bill that aims to lower U.S. carbon emissions by about 40% by 2030 and cut the federal budget deficit by $300 billion. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and move to the House with the SAF credit included next week. Democrats control the House and approval with the credit is expected. Fuel retailers fear the credit would shift vegetable oil and other renewable feedstocks to aviation,…
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Key races in Arizona, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri and Washington primary elections

Key races in Arizona, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri and Washington primary elections

Voters in Arizona, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri and Washington will choose candidates for the U.S. Congress, governor and other offices, as former President Donald Trump's effort to maintain dominance over the Republican Party is tested anew. Here are the key races to watch: Arizona Governor: The Republican contenders include former news anchor Kari Lake, who is endorsed by Trump and has echoed his false claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Her main rival is developer Karrin Taylor Robson, who is backed by several establishment Republicans, including Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. On the Democratic side,…
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U.S. Senate passes gun safety bill as Supreme Court knocks down handgun limits

U.S. Senate passes gun safety bill as Supreme Court knocks down handgun limits

A bipartisan package of modest gun safety measures passed the U.S. Senate late on Thursday even as the Supreme Court broadly expanded gun rights by ruling Americans have a constitutional right to carry handguns in public for self-defense. The landmark court ruling and Senate action on gun safety illustrate the deep divide over firearms in the United States, weeks after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, killed more than 30 people, including 19 children. The Senate bill, approved in a 65-33 vote, is the first significant gun control legislation to pass in three decades, in a country…
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Ballistic missiles hit Iraq’s Kurdish capital, U.S. blames Iran

Ballistic missiles hit Iraq’s Kurdish capital, U.S. blames Iran

ERBIL, Iraq, March 13 (Reuters) - A dozen ballistic missiles struck Iraq's northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday, Kurdish authorities said, with a U.S. official blaming Iran for the attack which also targeted the U.S. consulate's new building. The missile attack comes as talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal face the prospect of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations for an undetermined time despite having a largely completed text.Read full story The missiles caused only material damage and one civilian was injured, the Kurdish interior ministry said. An…
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Oil surges as U.S. and Britain cut off Russian crude

Oil surges as U.S. and Britain cut off Russian crude

BENGALURU, March 8 (Reuters) - Oil prices surged on Tuesday as the United States and Britain moved to ban Russian oil imports, a decision that is expected to worsen disruptions in the global energy market as Russia is the second-largest exporter of crude. "How high can oil prices go? Pick a number, this is a market in disarray," said Mike Tran, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a note early on Tuesday. Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 for May shot up $7.55, or 6.1%, to $130.76 a barrel by 10:56 a.m. EST (1556 GMT). U.S. crude CLc1 for April delivery was up $7.38, or 6.2%, at $126.78…
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Blinken held ‘productive’ talks with Europeans on Iran nuclear deal

Blinken held ‘productive’ talks with Europeans on Iran nuclear deal

LIVERPOOL, England, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a "productive" meeting with counterparts from Britain, Germany and France on Friday, discussing the way forward for talks on the Iran nuclear deal, a State Department spokesperson said on Saturday. World powers and Iran resumed talks on Thursday on reviving the nuclear pact. A European source said they were working from texts discussed five months ago, while Iranian officials said they were sticking to a tough stance from last week. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that Tehran was serious in its nuclear talks with world…
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Dead-heat Virginia governor’s race headlines U.S. elections

Dead-heat Virginia governor’s race headlines U.S. elections

Virginians voted on Tuesday in an unexpectedly close race for governor that carries national implications for both Republicans and Democrats ahead of U.S. congressional elections next year. Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a party fixture who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, has seen his lead over Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin in opinion polls evaporate in recent weeks. A McAuliffe loss in Virginia, which Democratic President Joe Biden won by a double-digit margin over Republican then-President Donald Trump last year, would sound alarm bells for national Democrats. Cultural issues have dominated the gubernatorial race, with Youngkin promising to give parents more control…
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U.S. set to require vaccines for most non-U.S. citizen travellers, sources say

U.S. set to require vaccines for most non-U.S. citizen travellers, sources say

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The United States plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for nearly all non-U.S. citizen international air passengers traveling to the United States as it relaxes other travel restrictions starting in early November, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. The White House plans in November to allow travelers from countries who have been barred from the United States since early 2020 as it moves to the new requirements, the sources said. (Reporting by David Shepardson and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Franklin Paul and Will Dunham)
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U.S. probes possible insider trading at Binance – Bloomberg News

U.S. probes possible insider trading at Binance – Bloomberg News

Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. officials are examining possible insider trading and market manipulation at Binance, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, potentially adding more heat to the cryptocurrency exchange that has become a target of regulatory scrutiny in many countries. Authorities are looking into whether Binance or its staff profited by taking advantage of its customers, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. "At Binance, we have a zero-tolerance policy for insider trading and a strict ethical code related to any type of behavior that could have a negative impact on our customers or industry," the world's biggest…
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U.S. says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children, in ‘tragic mistake’

U.S. says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians, including children, in ‘tragic mistake’

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children, the U.S. military said on Friday, apologizing for what it called a "tragic mistake". The Pentagon had said the Aug. 29 strike targeted an Islamic State suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to U.S.-led troops at the airport as they completed the last stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Even as reports of civilian casualties emerged, the top U.S. general had described the attack as "righteous". The head of U.S. Central Command, Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie, said…
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Oil rises as full U.S. clearance for COVID-19 vaccine stokes demand hopes

Oil rises as full U.S. clearance for COVID-19 vaccine stokes demand hopes

Oil prices rose on Tuesday after the U.S. drug regulator granted full approval to the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine, stoking investor hopes that higher fuel demand would follow a potential rise in U.S. coronavirus vaccination rates. Brent crude oil futures were up 46 cents, or 0.7%, to $69.21 a barrel by 0648 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) had gained 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $65.98. Both benchmarks jumped more than 5% on Monday, helped by a weaker U.S. dollar, after marking their biggest week of losses in more than nine months last week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),…
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Incoming Iran president says he will take steps to lift ‘tyrannical’ U.S. sanctions

Incoming Iran president says he will take steps to lift ‘tyrannical’ U.S. sanctions

Iran will take steps to lift "tyrannical" sanctions imposed by the United States, hardline Shi'ite cleric Ebrahim Raisi said on Tuesday after winning the endorsement of the country's supreme leader to become president. Former U.S. President Donald Trump ditched Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers three years ago and reimposed sanctions that have devastated Iran's economy. "We will seek to lift the tyrannical sanctions imposed by America," Raisi, who takes office on Thursday, said in a televised speech, adding that his government would try to improve living conditions which have suffered under the sanctions. Iran and six powers have been in talks since…
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Biden, Putin won’t cut a deal behind Ukraine’s back, Ukrainian foreign minister says

Biden, Putin won’t cut a deal behind Ukraine’s back, Ukrainian foreign minister says

Ukraine does not see the risk of U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin cutting a deal on Ukraine behind Ukraine's back, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday. Biden and Putin meet in Geneva this week in their first meeting since Biden became president. Ukraine has told allies it would not accept any agreements reached in discussions where Ukraine was not present, Kuleba said. "We do not see any risks for this meeting to reach some kind of agreement on Ukraine behind our back," Kuleba said in a briefing alongside Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. via Reuters
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Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel

Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel

President Joe Biden's administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, and congressional sources said on Monday that U.S. lawmakers were not expected to object to the deal despite violence between Israel and Palestinian militants. Three congressional aides said Congress was officially notified of the intended commercial sale on May 5, as part of the regular review process before major foreign weapons sales agreements can go ahead. The sale was first reported by the Washington Post. Congress was informed of the planned sale in April, as part of the normal informal review process before of the formal notification on…
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U.S. airlines cancel flights to Tel Aviv amid escalating conflict

U.S. airlines cancel flights to Tel Aviv amid escalating conflict

May 12 (Reuters) - United Airlines, Delta Air Lines , and American Airlines have canceled flights from the United States to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Thursday, according to data by flight tracker FlightAware. Spokespeople for United and Delta confirmed the cancellations and said the airlines were monitoring the situation in Israel, where violence has escalated this week amid a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Delta has "no determination about resumption at this juncture," a spokesman said. (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski, Editing by Franklin Paul)
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Space entrepreneur Max Polyakov acquires South Africa’s Dragonfly satellite maker

Space entrepreneur Max Polyakov acquires South Africa’s Dragonfly satellite maker

Max Polyakov, an ultra-wealthy entrepreneur with ambitions of building a space transportation empire, has acquired South African satellite maker Dragonfly Aerospace, he told Reuters. The deal gives Polyakov an anchorpoint in the booming but fiercely competitive market for small-satellite technology, and a potential revenue source for rocket maker Firefly Aerospace, which is majority-owned by Polyakov's Noosphere Ventures investment fund. He declined to disclose the value of the deal, which closed earlier this month. It has not been previously reported. An announcement is expected on Tuesday. "This deal gives us cost-control and mass production of components," Polyakov told Reuters by phone. "It allows us to bring everything…
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AstraZeneca shot is good if safety issues can be overcome, U.S. official Fauci says

AstraZeneca shot is good if safety issues can be overcome, U.S. official Fauci says

U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine had good efficacy, but safety concerns needed to be straightened out and it might not be needed for Americans because of supplies of other shots. "I think that the AstraZeneca vaccine from a standpoint of efficacy is a good vaccine, and if the safety issue gets straightened out in the European Union ... the efficacy of that vaccine is really quite good," he told BBC radio on Tuesday. "Whether or not we ever use AZ is unclear but it looks right now at this point in time that we will…
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At NATO, Blinken warns Germany over Nord Stream 2

At NATO, Blinken warns Germany over Nord Stream 2

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under construction from Russia to Germany, ran counter to the European Union's own interests and undermined Ukraine. Speaking on his first visit to NATO, Blinken said he was due to meet his German counterpart to discuss the issue. Blinken has revealed last week the State Department was tracking efforts to complete the natural gas pipeline and evaluating information on entities that appear to be involved. Any company involved should immediately abandon work or risk U.S. sanctions, Blinken said. Nearly 20 companies, mostly insurance firms, recently quit the project after…
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US election ‘wake up call’ for disinformation

US election ‘wake up call’ for disinformation

The US election call was a wake up call for the European Parliament on disinformation and its harmful effects. A panel discussing disinformation and defending democrary heard that the current mode of self-regulation on the internet is inadequate.In the coming months, the EP will be working on proposals which aim to improve media and protect freedom of speech. The European Parliament stated that distrust of institutions and false narratives are gaining ground. Even extreme conspiracy theories like QA­non have gained a following in Europe. Multiple conspiracy theories - playing into fears about perceived elites and about COVID-19 - can have a…
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Oil prices rise on expected economic recovery, likely drawdown in oil stocks

Oil prices rise on expected economic recovery, likely drawdown in oil stocks

Oil prices rose on Tuesday on expectations of a recovery in the global economy after the U.S. Senate approved a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and on a likely drawdown in crude oil inventories in the United States, the world's biggest fuel consumer. But a stronger dollar and receding fears of a supply disruption from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, after an attack on its export facilities capped price gains. Brent crude futures for May rose by 53 cents, or 0.8 %, to $68.77 a barrel by 0436 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for April rose 44 cents, or 0.7%, to $65.49.…
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Myanmar ruler calls for end to protests as U.S. imposes sanctions

Myanmar ruler calls for end to protests as U.S. imposes sanctions

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Myanmar's new junta leader on Thursday called on civil servants to return to work and urged people to stop mass gatherings to avoid spreading the coronavirus, as a sixth day of protests against him and his coup rocked the country. Washington announced a first round of sanctions, while European Union lawmakers called on their countries to also take action against the military leadership and Britain said it was considering measures to punish the Feb. 1 takeover. The coup and the detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with scores of others have prompted the…
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Oil steady as supply cuts offset demand worries on stalled vaccine rollouts

Oil steady as supply cuts offset demand worries on stalled vaccine rollouts

Oil prices were steady on Friday, sticking to ranges seen over the past three weeks, as investors looked for signs of changing supply and demand fundamentals. A cut in Saudi Arabia's oil supply and lower U.S. oil stocks helped offset price pressures from fuel demand, which is slowing due to stalled vaccine rollouts and contagious new coronavirus strains. "We're waiting for the next shoe to drop in the oil market. We really don't have much to move us around," said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets. Brent crude futures for March rose 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $55.57 a barrel at 0520 GMT, after falling 0.5%…
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China’s stark warning to Taiwan: seeking independence means war

China’s stark warning to Taiwan: seeking independence means war

China has harshly warned Taiwan that attempts to seek independence from Beijing "means war". The warning comes days after Beijing stepped up military activities and sent warplanes near the island. At the same time, Taiwan welcomed the new Biden administration just last week, with the US from its end reaffarming Washington's commitment to supporting Taiwan's defence capability. China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. "We are seriously telling those Taiwan independence forces: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war," Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian…
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US Govt to tax French, German aircraft parts, wines

US Govt to tax French, German aircraft parts, wines

The US Government said it would begin collecting new duties on aircraft parts and other products from France and Germany from Tuesday after failing to resolve a 16-year dispute over aircraft subsidies with the European Union. In a notice to shippers late on Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the new duties would apply from 12:01 a.m. ET (0501 GMT) on Tuesday as part of the long-running battle over government subsidies to Europe's Airbus SE and its U.S. rival, Boeing Co. The notice follows an announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative's office that it would impose an additional 15%…
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Oil prices go lower with rising virus cases

Oil prices go lower with rising virus cases

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday as investors remained concerned about climbing coronavirus cases globally, though an anticipated drawdown in crude oil inventory in the United States for a fifth straight week stemmed losses. After falling on Monday, Brent crude oil futures slipped by 9 cents, or 0.2%, to $55.57 a barrel by 0135 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell by 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $52.17 a barrel. Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as nations around the globe scramble to procure vaccines and continue to extend or reinstate lockdowns to fight new coronavirus variants. "I think…
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Maltese Editors’ Perspectives

Maltese Editors’ Perspectives

Times of Malta says US President Donald Trump had caused a riot within the Capitol. It asks whether the election of Joe Biden will be the start of something new. The Independent says that the scenes at the US Capitol reminded Malta of the 80s L-Orizzont says that what took place is part of Trump's legacy In-Nazzjon says that Prime Minister Robert Abela's stubbornness worsened the effects of the pandemic
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EXPLAINER-Did Trump break the law by pressuring a Georgia election official to ‘find’ votes?

EXPLAINER-Did Trump break the law by pressuring a Georgia election official to ‘find’ votes?

President Donald Trump may have broken a U.S. federal law and a Georgia law against election tampering by pressuring the state's top election official to "find" enough votes to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden in the state, according to some legal experts. The experts also outlined a potential legal defense for Trump and predicted that a prosecution of him arising from Saturday's telephone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, would be unlikely. Trump told Raffensperger during the call: "All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have," according to a transcript of the call released by the Washington Post on Sunday. The White…
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Electoral College will vote Monday, confirming Biden’s U.S. presidential win

Electoral College will vote Monday, confirming Biden’s U.S. presidential win

Reuters) - Electors will gather in state capitols across the country on Monday to formally vote for Joe Biden as the next U.S. president, effectively ending President Donald Trump's frenzied but failing attempt to overturn his loss in the Nov. 3 election. The state-by-state votes, traditionally an afterthought, have taken on outsized significance this year in light of Trump's unprecedented assault on the nation's democratic process. Pushing false claims of widespread fraud, Trump has pressured state officials to throw the election results out and declare him the winner. In the United States, a candidate becomes president not by winning a…
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Moderna to seek U.S. and EU authorization for its vaccine on Monday

Moderna to seek U.S. and EU authorization for its vaccine on Monday

Moderna Inc will apply for U.S. and European emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine on Monday after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns, the company said. Moderna also reported that its vaccine's efficacy rate was consistent across age, race, ethnicity and gender demographics as well as having a 100% success rate in preventing severe cases of a disease that has killed nearly 1.5 million people. The filing sets Moderna's product up to be the second vaccine likely to receive U.S. emergency use authorization this year following a shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech…
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Trump says he’ll leave if Biden wins Electoral College vote

Trump says he’ll leave if Biden wins Electoral College vote

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he repeated unfounded claims of massive voter fraud. Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Republican Trump said if Democrat Biden - who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 - is formally declared the winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House. Asked if he would leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden, Trump said: "Certainly I will. Certainly I will.…
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China gives pledge on access for COVID origins probe – WHO

China gives pledge on access for COVID origins probe – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has had assurances from China that an international field trip to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus will be arranged as soon as possible, its top emergency expert said on Monday. Chinese researchers are carrying out epidemiological studies into early cases and conditions at a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. An international team of experts has been formed to carry out phase 2 studies. But the United States, and to a lesser extent some European delegations, have raised questions about the delay and sought a timeline of the international experts' visit, diplomats…
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Trump considered attacking Iran last week

Trump considered attacking Iran last week

President Donald Trump, with two months left in office, last week asked for options on attacking Iran's main nuclear site, but ultimately decided against taking the dramatic step, a U.S. official said on Monday. Trump made the request during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday with his top national security aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, new acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the official said. Trump, who has refused to concede and is challenging the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, is to…
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Pfizer launches vaccine pilot delivery programme

Pfizer launches vaccine pilot delivery programme

Pfizer Inc has launched a pilot delivery program for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in four U.S. states, as the U.S. drugmaker seeks to address distribution challenges facing its ultra-cold storage requirements. Pfizer's vaccine, which was shown to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data, must be shipped and stored at -70 degrees Celsius (minus 94°F), significantly below the standard for vaccines of 2-8 degrees Celsius (36-46°F). "We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other U.S. states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective COVID-19…
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SpaceX Dragon capsule docks with the International Space Station

SpaceX Dragon capsule docks with the International Space Station

Four astronauts riding a newly designed spacecraft from Elon Musk's SpaceX docked with the International Space Station Monday night, in the first crewed mission on a privately built space capsule purchased by NASA. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience by its crew of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut, docked at 11:01 p.m. EST (7:01 GMT), 27 hours after launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. “Oh, what a good voice to hear,” space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when the Dragon’s commander, Mike Hopkins, first made radio contact. “We can’t wait to have you on board,” she…
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Oil price drops again as new restrictions imposed in Europe

Oil price drops again as new restrictions imposed in Europe

Renewed restrictions in Europe and the United States to combat the coronavirus have slowed down the pace of fuel demand recovery, offsetting a rebound in Asian economies where consumption has almost returned to pre-COVID levels. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1.5%, to $39.69 a barrel, while Brent crude futures fell 54 cents, or 1.3%, to $41.86 a barrel. As the second wave of the virus hit many Western countries, governments imposed new lockdowns, closing restaurants and bars and banning gatherings. But the measures were not as strict as during the first wave. France, the…
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Biden camp considers legal action over agency’s delay in recognizing transition

Biden camp considers legal action over agency’s delay in recognizing transition

President-elect Joe Biden's transition team is considering legal action over a federal agency's delay in recognizing the Democrat's victory over President Donald Trump in last week's election, a Biden official said on Monday. The General Services Administration (GSA) normally recognizes a presidential candidate when it becomes clear who has won an election so that a transition of power can begin. That has not yet happened despite U.S. television and news networks declaring Biden the winner on Saturday after he secured enough electoral votes to secure the presidency. The law does not clearly spell out when the GSA must act, but Biden transition officials say their victory is clear and a delay is…
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EU ‘regrettably’ hits U.S. with tariffs, seeks better Biden ties

EU ‘regrettably’ hits U.S. with tariffs, seeks better Biden ties

The European Union will impose tariffs on up to $4 billion of U.S. imports in retaliation for U.S. subsidies for Boeing, but said on Monday it was hopeful of an improvement in trade ties under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. The move, given the green light by the World Trade Organization last month, is the latest in a 16-year U.S.-EU dispute over civil aviation subsidies. U.S. tariffs on $7.5 billion of EU products after a parallel WTO case against Airbus have been in place for over a year. "We have made clear at every stage that we want to settle this…
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Photo Story – If the White House was the Vatican…

Photo Story – If the White House was the Vatican…

To those watching in the Vatican Square, the results of each vote are announced by smoke that emanates from the Sistine Chapel's chimney. The smoke is black if no pope has been elected. The smoke is white if a pope has been elected. team from the heating system rises at the White House in Washington DC, USA, 07 November 2020. Votes continue to be counted in some key states after the 2020 US presidential election was held on 03 November. EPA-EFE/Chris Kleponis / POOL The world is waiting for the result of the US elections, and the only smoke coming…
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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Covid-19 claims the life of two more persons in Malta Early on Friday morning the Health Ministry reported that two more persons lost their life after infecton by coronavirus, meaning that 73 persons have now succumbed to the virus. The Ministry said that a 75-year-old man tested positive for Covid-19 on 14 October and was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital a day later. He died on Thursday evening at the Intensive Therapy Unit. A 90-year-old woman also died from Covid on Thursday. She had been admitted to Mater Dei Hospital today week and tested positive that same day. She also…
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Democrats favoured to carry Senate majority

Democrats favoured to carry Senate majority

Democrats are favored to emerge from 14 hotly contested U.S. Senate races with full control of Congress in Tuesday's election, but final results from at least five of those contests may not be available for days, and in some cases, months. With public disapproval of President Donald Trump weighing on Republicans across the country, voters will decide whether to end the political careers of embattled Republican senators including Trump ally Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and moderate Susan Collins of Maine among others. In total, 12 Republican-held seats and two Democratic-held seats are in play, based on a Reuters analysis of…
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American citizen kidnapped in Niger

American citizen kidnapped in Niger

An American citizen was kidnapped near the town of Birnin Konni in southern Niger in the early hours of Tuesday morning, three security sources and a local official told Reuters. The details of the kidnapping were not immediately clear, and no one had claimed responsibility on Tuesday morning. Niger is struggling with a security crisis as groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State carry out an increasing number of attacks on the army and civilians, particularly in the west region bordering Mali and Burkina Faso. Birnin Konni is a few hundred miles to the east of that region, near the…
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Oil prices recover some of lost ground

Oil prices recover some of lost ground

Oil prices registerd small gains on Tuesday after recent sharp losses, but sentiment remained subdued as a surge in global coronavirus cases hit prospects for crude demand while supply is rising. Brent crude was up 19 cents, or 0.5%, at $40.65 a barrel by 0324 GMT. U.S. oil  gained 15 cents, or 0.4%, at $38.71 a barrel. Both contracts fell more than 3% on Monday. A lack of progress on agreeing a U.S. coronavirus relief package added to market gloom, although U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday she hoped a deal can be reached before the Nov. 3…
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Arrest made in ballot box fire set in Boston

Arrest made in ballot box fire set in Boston

Boston Police said on Monday they had arrested a 39-year-old Boston man in connection with the burning of a ballot box early on Sunday. Police charged Worldy Armand late on Sunday on an outstanding warrant for receiving stolen property, Boston Police Department said in a statement. Armand was charged early Monday with willful and malicious burning, and was scheduled to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court, police said. No bond was set. The FBI is also investigating the fire set on Sunday and said the ballot drop box was in front of the Boston Public Library. Massachusetts election officials described the incident as a "deliberate attack." There were 122 ballots…
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Pence to keep up U.S. campaigning after close aides test positive for COVID-19

Pence to keep up U.S. campaigning after close aides test positive for COVID-19

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence planned to press ahead with campaigning on Sunday, visiting the battleground state of North Carolina after multiple aides tested positive for COVID-19, keeping the pandemic front and center in the presidential race. With nine days to go before the Nov. 3 election in which Democrat Joe Biden is challenging Republican President Donald Trump, the White House cited Pence's status as an "essential worker" as justification for his travel despite exposure to his chief of staff, Marc Short, who tested positive on Saturday. Multiple other senior aides to Pence also tested positive for COVID-19, the White House chief of staff said, as new nationwide infections soared to record numbers in recent days amid a pandemic that has killed 225,000 Americans.…
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“Do it in your free time” – College professor tells student no breastfeeding during online lessons

“Do it in your free time” – College professor tells student no breastfeeding during online lessons

Focus on your priorities. Breastfeeding can be done in your freetime. This is what a college professor in the United States told a young mother following an online course. This story takes us to the United States, the bastion of democracy, freedom and liberties. Yet, Fresno City College student Marcella Mares learnt the hard way that even as a simple right, that of breastfeeding her child, was something she had to fight for. A few weeks earlier, Prof Hung Hua, a lecturer at the College, asked all students to keep the microphones and webcams on during her lessons, to ensure…
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US on course for historic election turnout

US on course for historic election turnout

Over 50 million Americans have already cast their votes in the widely-anticipated US presidential election, with 11 days to go for the official voting day. According to the US Elections Project, such pace could lead to the highest voter turnout in over a centure. Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots ahead of election day on 3 November, as a safer way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Macdonald, the University of Florida professor who administers the US Elections Project, has predicted a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65% of eligible voters, the highest…
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After America First, some investors bet on a Biden boost abroad

After America First, some investors bet on a Biden boost abroad

After four years of America First, some money managers outside the United States looking for big post-election investment winners are quietly confident it is the turn of the rest of the world to shine. With several opinion polls pointing to a Joe Biden presidency, these investors are leaning towards assets such as emerging markets or European bank stocks, as potential beneficiaries of a Democrat win while turning cautious on markets such as Russia which might be hurt by the change. A stimulus-fuelled U.S. growth pickup, accompanied by corporate tax hikes -- both expected under Biden -- could push capital out of the S&P 500 into other markets, especially if a coronavirus…
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Final Trump-Biden debate to feature mute button

Final Trump-Biden debate to feature mute button

The final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will feature a mute button to allow each candidate to speak uninterrupted, organizers said on Monday, looking to avoid the disruptions that marred the first matchup. The Trump campaign voiced objections to the change - made after the president repeatedly talked over both Biden and the moderator at last month's debate in violation of its agreed-upon rules - but said the Republican would still take part in the Thursday night event, one of his last chances to reach a large prime-time audience before voting ends on Nov. 3. The Presidential Commission on Debates said each candidate's microphone…
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Turkey defies EU, US and NATO – Greek media

Turkey defies EU, US and NATO – Greek media

As the European Union sent out another strongly worded statement on Friday regarding Turkey’s infringements in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey continued on its path of defiance to the West with the reported missile test launch of the Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft system on the shores of the Black Sea, to the vehement protestation of the US. Ekathimerini reports that at the same time that the Turkish Oruc Reis research vessel continued its course within the Greek continental shelf while the Turkish Air Force returned to its tactics of overflights in the Aegean. Responding to reports of its activation of the S-400 system, the US State Department issued a statement…
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More than 10 million early votes in U.S. presidential election

More than 10 million early votes in U.S. presidential election

U.S. voters have cast more than 10 million votes for the Nov. 3 presidential election, significantly outpacing the early vote in 2016 and suggesting a large turnout, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project. The surge in early voting comes amid a stubborn novel coronavirus pandemic that has led to a surge of early and mail balloting, particularly among Democrats. Republican President Donald Trump has sowed confusion and distrust of mail balloting, making repeated, unfounded allegations of widespread fraud ahead of his contest with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. As of Monday night, nearly 10.4 million Americans have cast a vote in…
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Major hurricane brews in Gulf of Mexico, threatens Louisiana-Florida

Major hurricane brews in Gulf of Mexico, threatens Louisiana-Florida

Tropical Storm Delta, the 25th named Atlantic storm this year, is moving toward the Gulf of Mexico and expected to take aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast this week as a major hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said. If Delta strikes the U.S. Gulf Coast, it would break a record that dates to 1916 for the most named storms to hit the United States, another milestone in a year marked by repeated natural disasters ranging from floods, to wildfires to tornados. The storm was expected to drop heavy rains on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula and head up the Gulf of Mexico…
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New York shuts schools following coronavirus resurgence

New York shuts schools following coronavirus resurgence

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, has approved the shutting of schools in a number of neighbourhoods in New York City following a spike of coronavirus cases. The request had originally been forwarded by the City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, following the increase in infections in several hotspots. While the overall infection rate for the state is relatively low at 1%, outlying areas have rates as high as 5.5% due to mass gatherings and violations by religious institutions, according to the governor. “I wouldn’t allow a school to open that I wouldn’t send my child to, that’s my test,” Cuomo…
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‘Masks Matter’, says Biden in rebuke to Trump stunt

‘Masks Matter’, says Biden in rebuke to Trump stunt

Less than two hours after U.S. President Donald Trump returned to the White House after three days in hospital being treated for coronavirus, challenger Joe Biden criticized the president anew for downplaying the seriousness of the virus. "I would hope that the president, having gone through what he went through – and I'm glad he seems to be coming along pretty well – would communicate the right lesson to the American people: Masks matter," Biden said at a NBC News town hall from Miami, Florida. But in a video released shortly after leaving hospital, Trump urged Americans to "get out there" and…
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Trump to deploy 150m rapid coronavirus tests

Trump to deploy 150m rapid coronavirus tests

United States President Donald Trump has announced the distribution of 150 million rapid coronavirus test, which had been first promised by the White House back in August. Trump, at a Rose Garden event, said the tests would largely be used for opening schools and ensuring safety at centers for senior citizens. He has been pressuring state governors to do more to open schools for in-person learning. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and virus adviser Scott Atlas warned more positive cases may result from stepped up testing. "With cases and positivity rising in 10 states in the Midwest and the near-West, and with…
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Biden would rebuild strong ties with EU says adviser

Biden would rebuild strong ties with EU says adviser

Democrat Joe Biden would end the "artificial trade war" that U.S. President Donald Trump has waged against Europe, while working to address persistent imbalances in agricultural trade between the two blocs, a senior adviser said on Tuesday. Tony Blinken told an online event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that Biden and Trump had starkly different views regarding Europe, and the former vice president favored a much more cooperative approach on issues such as China, climate and trade. "The EU is the largest market in the world. We need to improve our economic relations," Blinken said. "And we need…
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Iran says it is ready to swap all prisoners with U.S

Iran says it is ready to swap all prisoners with U.S

Iran is ready for a full prisoner exchange with the United States, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a virtual address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday, amid heightened tension between the longtime foes. Washington has long demanded that Iran release U.S. citizens including Iranian-American father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi, who it says are political prisoners. Tehran denies it holds people for political reasons and has accused many of the foreigners in its jails of espionage. It says Iranians detained in the U.S., mostly for breaking sanctions, are being unjustly held. "There are Iranians in U.S. prisons who…
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Covid-19 Round up: Pandemic flares up again around Europe

Covid-19 Round up: Pandemic flares up again around Europe

More than half of the French Departments have been designated as red zones, Madrid has restricted movement for almost one million persons while the UK is looking into further localised lockdowns. The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten Europe's recovery, with countries battling to keep schools and businesses open while at the same time engaging in a race against time to isolate newly-infected patients. France has been reporting more than 10,000 daily new cases for a number of days and more than 50 departments have been indicated as locations where the virus was actively circulating, a designation…
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Trump, Biden clash on climate change

Trump, Biden clash on climate change

Joe Biden has termed President Donald Trump a "climate arsonist" on Monday for refusing to acknowledge global warming's role in deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, while Trump appeared to renege scientific consideration, blamed lax forestry and declared, "I don't think science knows." Dozens of conflagrations have raged with unprecedented scope across some 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 36 people. The fires also have filled the region's air with harmful levels of smoke and soot, bathing skies in eerie tones of orange…
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