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WHO: Omicron risk could see travel curbs tighten

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The World Health Organization has released further information about the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron

The World Health Organization stated on Monday that the new Omicron COVID variant contained a high risk of transmission with the possibility of positive cases surging. While border closures by more countries across the world cast doubt over the economic recovery from the pandemic.

The world’s major airlines have acted swiftly to protect their hubs by curbing curbing passenger travel from Southern Africa where it’s understood the variant originated from. International carries are fearful that a spread of the variant may lead to further restrictions from other destinations – meaning not just immediately impacted regions.

The markets however have held strong, with airline stocks rebounding at the start of the week, following a decline on Friday – with investors panicking Omicron could see the global aviation sector shut down, again.

According to Reuters, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that the new variant muddies the outlook on inflation because prices could keep rising for longer than earlier thought.

The rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the new variant “pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation,” Powell said in testimony prepared for delivery on Tuesday to the U.S. Senate. Health-related concerns could “reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions.”

President Joe Biden urges not to panic / Image: Supplied

BIDEN URGES NOT TO PANIC

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Americans not to panic, stating that the government was working with pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Moderna to make contingency plans if new vaccines were needed to fight the new strain.

The president confirmed that the country would not go back to lockdowns this winter – however did urge people to get vaccinated, get their booster shots and wear masks.

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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Guilty verdict for far-right militia founder in Capitol attack

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A guilty verdict has been reached for the founder of a far-right militia group for his involvement in the Capitol attack

A Federal Jury has found the founder of far-right American group Oath Keepers guilty of seditious conspiracy during the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In a major victory for the U.S. Justice Department, Stewart Rhodes, alongside two members of his militia group are the first to face rare charges in connection with the January 6 violence.

The Government insists the group took part in stopping the transfer of power following Trump’s defeat.

Seditious conspiracy refers to two or more people conspiring to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force” the U.S. government.

Rhodes lawyers are planning to appeal the conviction but the charges carry a potential jail time of up to 20 years.

The Oath Keepers claim to defend the Constitution of the United States.

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Landmark same-sex marriage protection bill

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In a landmark bipartisan vote, the U-S Senate has passed Federal legislation to protect same sex marriage & Interracial marriage

Dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act, the same-sex bill will now be approved by the House as soon as this week.

After approval from the House the legislation will head to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill is in response to concerns the Supreme Court could overturn the 2015 decision to legalise same-sex marriage nationwide.

“Today the long but inexorable march towards greater equality advances forward…

By passing this bill, the Senate is sending a message that every American needs to hear: no matter who you are or who you love, you too deserve dignity and equal treatment under the law.”

Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader
 

The bill needed 60 votes to pass and ended with a vote of 61 to 36.

Hundreds of thousands of same-sex and interracial couples are breathing a sigh of relief today in the United States.

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Scott Morrison censured by the House of Representatives

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scott Morrison

Scott Morrison becomes the first current or former prime minister to be censured

The Australian Government has censured former prime minister Scott Morrison over a string of secret ministries he swore himself into.

The motion notes Morrison undermined responsible government after he failed to inform parliament of these secret portfolios he took on.

Of course, this follows the release of a report by former High Court Judge Virginia Bell.

She found it was “unnecessary” for Morrison to appoint himself as the minister for finance and health.

The coalition did not support the motion.

Of course, Morrison remains in the parliament as the member for Cook.

We’ve also heard from current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who says the opposition just doesn’t get it.

“He owes an apology to the Australian people for the undermining of democracy, and that’s why this motion should be supported by every member of this House.”

Liberal MP Bridget Archer says she was obligated to support Labor’s censure.

“I am a Liberal. I believe in Liberal values. And our statement of values says this,” Archer said.

“‘We believe in the rule of law. Under it, there is freedom for the nation and for all men and women. Democracy depends upon self-discipline, obedience to the law and the honest administration of the law.

It’s not the first time Bridget Archer has done this.

Last year, she crossed the floor over the proposed anti-corruption commission.

The last time an MP was formally censured in federal parliament was in 2018.

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