Reuters US Domestic News Summary
A state agency said WWC this week withdrew its application to deploy the 75-year-old technology that is being widely used to fight extreme drought affecting half the western United States. U.S. President Biden calls for intellectual property protection waivers on COVID-19 vaccines U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday called on nations meeting at the World Trade Organization next week to agree to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines in the wake of the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa.
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Fauci says U.S. must study data before deciding on travel ban over new COVID-19 variant
Top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said on Friday that a ban on flights from southern Africa was a possibility and the United States was rushing to gather data on the new COVID-19 variant. No decision to halt flights had yet been made, he said.
The United States will bar entry to most travelers from eight southern African countries starting on Monday, after a potentially more-contagious new coronavirus variant was identified in South Africa, President Joe Biden said on Friday. The new variant, dubbed Omicron, poses a new challenge for Biden, who has had a mixed degree of success getting Americans vaccinated after a politically motivated pushback by 10 states on mandates, and faces criticism from international health experts and foreign leaders about failing to send vaccines to poorer countries.
Despite drought, New Mexico project to seed clouds scrapped
A plan to seed the clouds over the mountains of New Mexico to increase snowfall during a historic drought was pulled this week after accusations it could poison people and the environment. Western Weather Consultants (WWC) of Durango, Colorado proposed siting machines near five ski resorts in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to pump silver iodide vapor into the atmosphere and increase ice crystals and snow. A state agency said WWC this week withdrew its application to deploy the 75-year-old technology that is being widely used to fight extreme drought affecting half the western United States.
U.S. President Biden calls for intellectual property protection waivers on COVID-19 vaccines
U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday called on nations meeting at the World Trade Organization next week to agree to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines in the wake of the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa. "The news about this new variant should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations," Biden said in a statement.
The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia will visit Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand from the weekend after President Joe Biden pledged stepped up engagement with Southeast Asia, a key battleground in his contest for influence with China. Daniel Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, will be in the region from Saturday until Dec. 4, a State Department statement said.
Republican Representative Lauren Boebert, a loyal supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump, apologized on Friday after suggesting that a liberal Democratic colleague, Representative Ilhan Omar, had been part of a "jihad squad" on Capitol Hill. "I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar. I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction," Boebert said on Twitter.
Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim dead at 91
Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who helped American musical theater evolve beyond pure entertainment and reach new artistic heights with works such as "West Side Story," "Into the Woods" and "Sweeney Todd," died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, at the age of 91, the New York Times reported. Sondheim, whose eight lifetime Tony Awards surpassed the total of any other composer, started early, learning the art of musical theater when he was just a teenager from "The Sound of Music" lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.
U.S. trade chief Tai pushes post-Trump vision for WTO ahead of Geneva talks
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has a vision for reforming the World Trade Organization: rekindling the dynamism that marked its creation in 1995, when countries were committed to hashing out grievances and seeking compromise as they shaped the global trading system. Her problem is getting past the entrenched positions and competing national interests - including those of the United States - that have kept the organization from evolving over the past quarter of a century, trade experts say.
Biden administration oil drilling review proposes higher fees, development
The Biden administration proposed a slew of changes on Friday to the nation's federal oil and gas leasing program, including hiking fees on drilling companies to keep them out of sensitive wildlife and cultural zones. The recommendations followed a months-long review aimed at ensuring drilling on federal lands and waters benefits the public. But in a sign of the extreme controversy surrounding the issue, environmental groups slammed the proposals as too weak and the industry criticized them as too harsh.
Black Friday draws U.S. shoppers but many shun stores for online
Bargain hunters ventured out in chilly weather to buy Christmas gifts on Black Friday only to discover that many U.S. retailers offered smaller price markdowns this year amid tight supplies. COVID fears and fewer "doorbuster" sales thinned crowds the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, which kicks off the year-end holiday shopping season.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)