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45% of Unvaccinated Americans Say They Will Definitely Not Get the Vaccine

Forty-five percent of the Americans who have not been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines say they definitely do not have any plans to get the shots, according to a new poll. Another 35% are a little less sure and say they will probably not get the vaccines, the survey, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research said. Meanwhile, 3% of those polled said they would definitely get the shots, while 16% say they would probably get the vaccines. In addition, 64% of the unvaccinated Americans who participated in the survey told the pollsters that they had little to no

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New Zealand Suspends Quarantine-Free Travel with Australia

As Australia struggles to bring an outbreak of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant under control, New Zealand has announced the suspension of its quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia.  “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe,” the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said Friday. The director of the U.S.

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US Ships Moderna Vaccine to Pakistan Amid Delta Variant Surge

As Pakistan deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, the Biden administration is sending 3 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine Friday, set to arrive in the country Sunday. The doses, sent through COVAX, the United Nations vaccine-sharing mechanism, are in addition to the 2.5 million doses of Moderna already donated to Pakistan, a White House official told VOA. Pakistan’s national vaccination campaign has largely relied on Chinese vaccines, but U.S.-donated does are helping officials overcome critical shortages of Western-developed anti-coronavirus shots

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Italy Extends Its COVID-19 State of Emergency to Dec. 31

Italy on Thursday announced new anti-COVID 19 measures as infections have started rising again, mainly due to the highly contagious delta variant. The number of new coronavirus infections has doubled in the past week, with the country now recording more than 5,000 new cases daily. With fears that the number will continue to grow, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday evening outlined new rules that will go into effect Aug. 6 and continue through Dec. 31. Draghi said the so-called Green Pass will be required in Italy for many services, including entertainment and leisure.

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Interior Secretary: Drought Demands Investment, Conservation 

Confronting the historic drought that has a firm grip on the American West requires a heavy federal infrastructure investment to protect existing water supplies but also will depend on efforts at all levels of government to reduce demand by promoting water efficiency and recycling, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Thursday. Haaland told reporters in Denver that the Biden administration's proposed fiscal 2022 budget includes a $1.5 billion investment in the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages water and power in the Western states, and more than $54 million for states, tribes and communities

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China Rejects Second Probe Into Coronavirus Origin

China has rejected the World Health Organization’s proposal for a second phase of its investigation into the origin of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of the Chinese National Health Commission, told reporters in Beijing Thursday that he was extremely surprised when he read the proposal offered by the U.N.

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Why COVID-19 Is Rising Around Asia This Year After a Mild 2020

Asian countries are reporting record COVID-19 waves this year compared to 2020, as vaccination drives fall short and governments lose hope that mass closures and border controls can keep the coronavirus away, observers in the region say. Spread of the delta variant from India, infections among airline personnel and citizens who brought back the virus from trips spread COVID-19 in parts of Asia with recent outbreaks.

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Biden Vows to Continue Encounter with China Over Opioids

U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday he will continue “this encounter with China” to attempt to stem the flow of deadly drugs being smuggled into the United States via Mexico. Biden, during an appearance on a CNN “town hall”-style program from Cincinnati, said his administration is “dealing with the whole opioid issue” by significantly increasing the number of people in the Justice Department working on it. Fentanyl is considered 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.

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China ‘Shocked’ by WHO Plan for COVID Origins Study

A senior Chinese health official said Thursday he was shocked by the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a COVID-19 origins study. National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin dismissed the lab leak theory as a rumor running counter to common sense. The head of the WHO acknowledged last week that it was premature to rule out a potential link between the pandemic and a leak of the coronavirus from a Chinese lab. Zeng said that the lab in the city of Wuhan has no virus that can directly infect humans. He said that China has made repeated clarifications and does not

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At Least 25 Dead in Massive China Flooding

At least 25 people are dead in China’s central Henan province after massive floods triggered by several days of heavy rains. Weather forecasters are predicting three more days of rain for the region. The rains washed out streets throughout the provincial capital, Zhengzhou, forcing stranded motorists to wade through waist-deep waters that submerged cars and sent many floating away.  The floods also washed out the city's subway system, with riders posting videos on social media awaiting rescue in waist-high muddy waters.

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Fossil Reveals Burrowing Lifestyle of Tiny Dino

A finger-sized fossil from 308 million years ago unearthed in the United States gives tantalizing clues to the habits of tiny dinosaurlike creatures that may be the forerunners of reptiles, researchers revealed Wednesday.  The new species is a microsaur — small lizardlike animals that roamed the Earth well before proper dinosaurs made their appearance. The find sheds important light on the evolution of different animal groups, including amphibians and reptiles, scientists wrote in the journal Royal Society Open Science.  Microsaurs lived during the Carboniferous period, when the forebears of

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Settlement Expected Soon in US Opioid Lawsuits

Lawyers involved with a potential multibillion-dollar settlement linked to the opioid crisis in the United States say a deal could be announced this week between pharmaceutical companies and a group of state and local governments. The settlement would involve drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and the three biggest drug distribution companies in the United States — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. The financial portion of the settlement is expected to be $26 billion, though the amount could end up being lower if certain jurisdictions opt out in favor of seeking their own legal