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US President Biden sets COVID vaccine rules for businesses

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US President Joe Biden on jobs

US President Joe Biden has set a new COVID-19 mandate for businesses that employee at least 100 people

Under new requirements, starting January 4, companies with 100 employees or more must enforce a vaccine mandate, with workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or instead be tested weekly.

Republican governors however have hit back at the President, stating that Biden is “overstepping his authority”

A statement from the White House read “Today, the Labor Department issued its rule requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for companies with 100 or more employees. If you work for one of these companies you will either need to get vaccinated or test at least weekly.”

Within hours after the announcement was made by the White House, governors from Florida, Iowa and Indiana had vowed to fight the new rule, arguing it infringes on individual freedom.

Despite growing political opposition to mandating vaccinations, the delayed roll-out of the order has offered a reprieve to businesses across America, currently facing labor shortages during the holiday season.

The President’s related decision to push back a deadline for federal contractors to the same date suggested the White House accommodated requests from companies and industry groups.

Highest day since July: UK COVID cases causing major concern
New vaccine mandate announced for the US /Image: File

The new rules will cover about 100 million Americans – two-thirds of all workers in America

Biden reminded citizens that vaccination mandates are “nothing new” – and have been around “a long time” to curb diseases and outbreaks of viruses.

“We’ve been living with them throughout our lives for all sorts of diseases. Safety rules in the workplace are nothing new either. We require hard hats in construction sites and safety goggles in labs.  And with today’s actions, we now have requirements to protect people from something that has taken the lives of 750,000 Americans.”

While the rollout of the COVID vaccine continues across the US, deaths from the virus continue in the thousands. The average of about 1,100 Americans are dying daily from COVID-19, most of them unvaccinated.

COVID-19 has killed more than 745,000 people in the United States.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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India’s ban on single-use plastics comes into effect

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India is banning many single-use plastics in a bid to tackle pollution

India produces around four million tonnes of plastic waste each year. But authorities will begin cracking down on usage and production of single-use plastics from Friday.

India’s Government believes 60 per cent of plastic waste is recycled. But a survey by the Centre for Science and Environment found the figure was 12 per cent in 2019.

When plastic waste is not recycled correctly, it creates fire hazards and air pollution, which blankets India’s major cities. It can also enter local waterways, which poisons wildlife.

New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

Some plastic bags and multi-layered packaging are exempt from these latest changes.

Millions of people are employed in the country’s plastic industry, with many pushing the government to delay the ban.

Street vendors are also expressing concerns around the changes.

The nation’s capital, New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

The Air Quality Institute found 510 million people who live in northern India “on track” to lose 7.6 years off their lives if pollution levels remain as they are.

Local authorities are set to decide the penalties for people in breach of the single-use plastics ban.

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U.K. Government in crisis as Tory whip resigns over sexual assault allegations

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Boris Johnson’s government is in crisis as the Tory whip resigned over allegations he groped two men while drunk

In his resignation letter, Chris Pincher admitted he “drank far too much” and embarrassed himself and other people.

“I think the right thing to do in the circumstances is for me to resign as Deputy Chief Whip. I owe it to you and the people I’ve caused upset to, to do this.”

CHRIS PINCHER

According to sources from Downing Street, it is unlikely Pincher will face any further action, and he will remain as a Conservative MP.

The Sun newspaper first reported the resignation, saying he was drinking at the Carlton Club when he is accused of assaulting two other male guests.

Reports suggest several concerned Tory MPs contacted the Conservative whips’ office to complain about Pincher’s behaviour.

Prime Minister is yet to comment on the matters.

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Beijing issues a stark warning to Canberra

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Beijing is warning Australia will “bear the consequences” if there are any military disputes in the South China Sea

China’s Defence Ministry says Australia is engaging in “risky” behaviour, as surveillance jets fly near the disputed Paracel Islands.

“What is the duty of a soldier? That is to defend the homeland,” says Colonel Tan Kefei.

The islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

It comes just weeks after an Australian Air Force was challenged by a Chinese J-16 fighter in the disputed territory.

A Chinese J-10 fighter, similar to the one involved in the incident.

Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles says some aluminium chaff was drawn into the engines of the P-8A Poseidon.

“The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8 settling in front of the P-8 at a very close distance,” he said.

The aircraft made its way back to its base, and Marles said the crew responded “professionally”.

It’s believed the Chinese jet also fired flares and chaff as a countermeasure.

The Defence Minister said he had communicated his concerns to Chinese authorities over the incident.

But China’s defence spokesperson, Colonel Tan says “those who come uninvited shall bear the consequences.”

Canada has also been in the firing line, as they reportedly carry out U.N. missions near North Korea.

But Chinese authorities believe the jets were monitoring China “under the pretext of enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions”.

“No matter what the name or excuse is, it is completely unreasonable to send military planes to the door of others to provoke and jeopardise the national security of other countries,” says Colonel Tan.

Australia’s Prime Minister met with Canada’s leader, Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Madrid this week.

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