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U.S opens borders to vaccinated travellers from Mexico, Canada

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The US is opening its borders to Canada and Mexico for vaccinated travellers

The U.S will lift restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November.

The announcement ends historic curbs on non-essential travelers, put in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The border closure will lift in November after a 19 month ban that was enforced at the beginning of the pandemic.

Unvaccinated travellers are excluded from this change and will be unable to cross the borders with Mexico or Canada.

Senator Chuck Schumer says US President Joe Biden has done “the right thing” by opening up the border, and allowing families to re-unite.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement the administration next month “will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings.”

The new rules are similar but not identical to planned requirements announced last month for international air travellers.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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Iran schoolgirls stand up to feared parliamentary force

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Iran schoolgirls stand up to a feared parliamentary force, removing headscarves and shouting

Schoolgirls in Iran are continuing to take a stand against the country’s repressive regime, this time by heckling a member of the Basij.

The Basij is a feared paramilitary force and one of the five forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp.

The girls waved their headscarves and shouted at the man who addressed them.

It comes as anti-government protests continue to sweep across Iran, largely sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini died in custody and many believe this was a result of police brutality.

The young woman’s death shone a spotlight on the regime’s brutal treatment of dissenters.  Residents also say it also highlighted the government’s general disregard for human rights.

The nationwide unrest is over two weeks old and has quickly become the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders in years.

Riot police are spread out across the cities of Urmia, Tabriz, Rasht and Tehran.

The police are particularly prevalent around universities as these institutions have been a focal point of protests.

“There are lots of security forces around Tehran University. Lots of police vans are waiting outside to arrest students,” said a student speaking to Reuters.

Other videos and footage circulating on social media show Iranians taking to the streets. Here they are chanting slogans like “death to the dictator” in defiance of the nation’s leaders.

The Basij has been helping security forces crack down on the demonstrators, often using extreme force.

But the resilience of the protesters, including these schoolgirls, shows that the regime’s days may be numbered.

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Puerto Rico rebuilds after Hurricane Fiona; Florida continues search and rescue operations after Hurricane Ian

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The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season isn’t over until November 1

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill jetted off to Puerto Rico on Monday.

The president pledged $60 million in federal funding for the island which was ravaged by hurricane Fiona weeks ago.

“We’re with you, I mean it—all of America’s with you as you receive and recover and rebuild,” he said.

“We’re investing in Puerto Rico’s roads, bridges, public transit, ports, airports, water safety and high-speed Internet.

Meanwhile, back on the U.S. mainland down in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis talked about the search and rescue operations that continue after Florida’s southwestern coast was hit last week by Hurricane Ian.

“So far we’ve had more than 1,900 rescues with more than 1,000 personnel having gone door-to-door to 65 different structures to check on occupants and those are mostly structures in the really hard head areas—the barrier islands and the like.”

Gov. DeSantis added that their division of emergency management is continuing to bring large quantities of water, food, and other substances into the area to help everybody get by.

He said, “we’re also distributing tarps for the roofs—although I will tell you one thing, I’ve noticed the new construction in Florida seemed to have held up very well.”

Florida’s office of emergency management says about half of a million residents are still without power—and that they are working to restore it by Sunday.

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Ex-military contractor escapes house arrest

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Mastermind of the largest corruption scandal in US Navy history is on the run after cutting of his ankle bracelet

A former military contractor who was at the centre of the largest corruption scandal in U.S. Navy history, has escaped house arrest.

It comes just three weeks before he was set to face sentencing.

The fugitive, known to many as “Fat Leonard”, pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges in 2015.

He bribed U.S. Navy officials with cash, prostitutes, and all-expenses paid trips, in exchange for access to military intelligence, earning him millions.

According to authorities, when police arrived at Francis’ home, all that they found was an ankle bracelet he had cut off and left in a portable cooler.

This all comes as the U.S. Military is reporting a 13 per cent spike in the number of sexual assaults last year.

It’s understood 36,000 service members had experienced unwanted sexual assault, with the Army reporting its largest spike in nearly a decade.

Despite this, the Pentagon says it is working to stamp out this poor behaviour.

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