Worldwide 2021-2029 Biden says he’s open to shortening length of new programs

President Joe Biden says he would prefer to cut the duration of programs in his big social services and climate change package rather than eliminate some entirely, as Democrats struggle to win support from moderates by trimming what had been a $3.5 trillion proposal.

Biden’s comments on Friday, reassuring progressives on what he hopes will be a landmark piece of his legacy, marked his clearest indication yet on how he hopes negotiations over the bill will play out. Appearing to side with a strategy preferred by progressive lawmakers, it marked at least a subtle break with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has suggested that most Democrats prefer to focus on establishing a few enduring programs.

He also said there is no deadline for a deal.

“I’m of the view that it’s important to establish the principle on a whole range of issues without guaranteeing to get the whole 10 years,” Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington from a trip to Connecticut. “It matters to establish it.”

“So what happens is, you pass the principle and you build on it,” he added. “You look back and either it works or it doesn’t work.”

Pelosi, however, in a Monday note to fellow Democratic lawmakers, said, “Overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from members is to do fewer things well.”

Biden said Friday that although he expects the package to shrink, “we’re going to come back and get the rest” after it’s passed.

“We’re not going to get $3.5 trillion. We’ll get less than that, but we’re gonna get it. And we’re going to come back and get the rest,” Biden said during remarks at a child care center in Connecticut.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are working to reduce the sweeping package to about $2 trillion in spending, which would be paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy. The proposal includes everything from free child care and community college to dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors and a number of significant provisions meant to combat climate change. They’re all key items for progressives, but moderates have balked at the original $3.5 trillion price tag.

One almost certain reduction would be in the proposal for free community college.

“I doubt whether we will get the entire funding for community colleges but I’m not going to give up on community colleges as long as I’m president,” Biden said. His wife, Jill, is a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College.

With slim margins in the House and the Senate, Democrats have no votes to spare on the bill. The whittling process has sparked concern from some progressives.

The party’s internal debate was apparent as Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote an opinion column for a West Virginia newspaper calling out that state’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin by name for blocking the domestic package so far.

Sanders named Manchin as one of only two Democratic senators who “remain in opposition” to the measure, thwarting the unanimous support the party needs in the 50-50 Senate to approve the still-evolving legislation.

“This is a pivotal moment in modern American history. We now have a historic opportunity to support the working families of West Virginia, Vermont and the entire country and create policy which works for all, not just the few,” Sanders wrote in a piece scheduled to appear in Sunday’s Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Manchin shot back in a statement late Friday, saying: “It isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them.”

It’s highly unusual for a senator to publicly criticize a colleague of the same party, particularly by wading into the other lawmaker’s state.

Manchin has proposed holding the measure’s overall 10-year cost to $1.5 trillion and has said he wants to limit some health care initiatives to benefit only lower-earning people.

Sanders and Manchin stand, respectively, as among the Democrats’ most progressive and conservative senators.

Biden has openly acknowledged the price tag of his package will have to come down. On Friday, he visited a child development center in Hartford to speak about a need for investments in child care and other social safety net programs, arguing they’re imperative to keep America competitive in the global economy.

At the center, Biden promoted his proposal to make such care free for lower-income families, and ensure that families making up to 150% of their state’s median income pay less than 7% of their salaries on child care. It’s part of a massive expansion of the social safety net that Biden has championed and is aiming to pass with just Democratic votes in Congress.

“Too many folks in Washington still don’t realize it isn’t enough just to invest in our physical infrastructure. We also have to invest in our people,” he said.

Biden briefly greeted some of the children at the center’s playground, at one point kneeling to give a child a hug.

The president’s sales pitch comes as his Democratic allies have raised concerns that the American public does not understand the benefits of his package. There is renewed urgency among Democrats to push it through ahead of an end-of-month deadline on transportation funding, Biden’s upcoming foreign trip, and a closer-than-anticipated race for Virginia’s next governor.

The fate of the legislation, branded “Build Back Better” by Biden, is also holding up a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate this summer. House progressives are balking at supporting that roads-and-bridges bill until agreement is reached on a path forward for the social safety net package.

In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, criticized Democrats including Biden over the lack of progress.

“They all got to get their act together and vote,” McAuliffe said. Asked specifically if he was calling out Biden, McAuliffe said, “I put everybody there.” McAuliffe is in a tight race with Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin in a state Biden carried by 10 points last fall.

Biden also delivered remarks later at the dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights at the University of Connecticut, which is being renamed to honor a longtime friend, former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, and Dodd’s father, also a former senator.

NSW officially hit its 80 per cent double dose COVID-19 vaccination target today, triggering a second round of eased restrictions

NSW officially hit its 80 per cent double dose COVID-19 vaccination target today, triggering a second round of eased restrictions on Monday including 20 visitors being allowed at homes and the resumption of community sport.

At 4pm NSW Premier Dom Perrottet tweeted: “80% in NSW! Been a long wait but we’ve done it.

“Feels great to break this news. Huge thanks to all the nurses and vaccination hub staff at @NSWHealth, the GPs, the pharmacists, and each and every person who rolled up their sleeve to get us here.”

Federal government data published on Saturday showed 91.91 per cent have had at least their first jab in NSW.

The state has been administering about 45,000 second doses on Saturdays for the past month with a total of almost two million COVID-19 vaccines going into arms across Australia last week. National coverage rates were 67.24 per cent double dose and 84.41 per cent first dose on Friday.

From Monday people in NSW who are fully vaccinated can have up to 20 people visit their home, participate in community sport, and carpool (except those who are not fully vaccinated).
Weddings and funerals will have no limits on attendance, caravan parks and camping grounds will re-open and places of worship will be able to welcome people who are not fully vaccinated (with density limits).

Travel for holidays and recreational visits from Sydney to the Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Blue Mountains is permitted but going from Sydney to regional NSW is not permitted until November 1. But people who are not fully vaccinated will not be able to travel to regional areas at this time.

Curtin University school of population health Professor Jaya Dantas said pandemic fatigue has set in among people of all ages across the country, and they will be watching how things evolve as NSW opens up.

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As we have seen in other countries like the UK, Israel, Singapore – there will be breakthrough infections even with high vaccination rates

As we have seen in other countries like the UK, Israel, Singapore – there will be breakthrough infections even with high vaccination rates,” Prof Dantas said. “Restrictions, however, have been lifted in most countries with mask mandates in place indoors and vaccine certificates required in many countries like France, Italy, Canada and the US.

“Denmark with a population similar to NSW, has avoided restrictions and lockdowns and maintained case numbers below 600 without the need for masks or vaccine passports.

Kinshasa: The Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation of 100 million people, is stepping up its coronavirus inoculation campaign amid concern that populations that aren’t immunised could spawn mutations that evade vaccines and spread more rapidly.

Congo has vaccinated the lowest proportion of its population out of more than 200 countries and regions tracked by Bloomberg, with just 140,000 shots administered as of October 8.

The World Health Organisation attributed the slow take-up to hesitancy, which was fuelled by the government’s initial rejection of the AstraZeneca Plc inoculation in July, and apathy by its politicians in advocating for vaccines.

“The pace at which the DRC is going is really concerning,” Richard Mihigo, program area manager for immunisation and vaccine development at the WHO’s Africa office, said in an interview. The initial rejection of AstraZeneca “definitely affected the confidence in terms of vaccination. There was very little signal shown at the higher level on supporting of vaccinations,” he said.

While the government has increased vaccine imports and senior politicians are now advocating their use, there’s still a mountain to climb. Congo is the size of Western Europe with poor infrastructure, making any inoculation campaign logistically difficult and expensive. And despite its vast mineral riches, the country is deeply impoverished and reliant on foreign aid to fund a large part of its health-care spending.

Congo has set a target of inoculating a quarter of adults by the end of next year and 45 per cent by the end of 2023, according to Aime Cikomola, the deputy head of vaccinations at the health ministry. By comparison, Britain has fully vaccinated 68 per cent of its population and is now rolling out booster shots.

He also says that the Gianforte administration opposes mandates on “personal health decisions, as it relates to vaccines.”

As Montana grapples with another deadly surge of COVID-19, with hospitalizations and caseloads among the highest per-capita in the nation, Gov. Greg Gianforte’s administration says it’s responding by doing all it can to support struggling hospitals and medical facilities.

“We’re working very diligently with hospitals, and with other practitioners, to help solve both the short-term needs, but also to improve the pipeline for the health-care workforce,” says the state’s top health official, Adam Meier.

Last week, Montana had the second-highest number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, per-capita, of any state. Yet Meier, director of the state Public Health and Human Services Department (DPHHS), said this week the real solution is one they’re leaving up to individual citizens — getting vaccinated.

Vaccinations in Montana are still increasing, slowly. Since the beginning of July, almost 70,000 additional Montanans have become vaccinated against COVID-19, an increase of 16%. Yet Montana remains among the least-vaccinated states, at 49.3% of the population (Vermont is the highest, at 70.4%).
Ellen Leahy, the longtime director of public health for Missoula County, who retired this summer, said Gov. Greg Gianforte took away local tools to manage the pandemic. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current file)

Some health officials and former health officials say while Gianforte has encouraged people to “consider” getting a vaccine, the administration has undercut that message by promising to fight any vaccine mandates from the federal government and signing the new law that prohibits private businesses or anyone from requiring vaccines.

“I think the message that there will be no mandates, that `I’m going to fight the feds for any vaccine mandate,’ I think undermines any other message of `talk to your doctor and get a vaccine,’” says Ellen Leahy, the longtime director of public health for Missoula County, who retired this summer. “We need to put two and two together and say, until we have a higher vaccination level, our schools, many of our residents, and our hospitals, remain at risk.”

Health officials also fault the Gianforte administration for supporting other laws that have restricted how local public-health departments can respond to outbreaks of communicable disease.

Leahy told MTN News that in Montana’s decentralized system of public health, county and city health departments need to be able to respond quickly to changing circumstances unique to their areas.

The Gianforte administration, along with the Republican-led 2021 Legislature, restricted that ability, she says.

“They took away fundamental tools for times just like this, and did it in the midst of a pandemic — which I think was reckless,” Leahy says. “And it took away not only the ability to respond locally, it took away any agility locally.”

When asked whether actions restricting public-health departments or fighting vaccine mandates are helping beat back the pandemic, Meier says the Gianforte administration must consider “competing interests” in setting health policy, such as its impact on business.

“There are more limitations … to public health response, but there is also additional freedoms and liberties that people are enjoying,” Meier says. “We’re balancing competing interests, and I think people are supportive of the ability for people to continue to maintain freedoms and have employment, and those sorts of things.”

He also says that the Gianforte administration opposes mandates on “personal health decisions, as it relates to vaccines.”

“There’s a difference to being resistant to top-down mandates and being resistant to vaccines in general,” Meier says. “Every time we have a chance to message it, we talk about the safe and effective vaccines and why people should really consult with their physicians if they have concerns, to go out and get that vaccine.”

Two lawsuits have been filed in Montana – one in state court, one in federal court – challenging the ban on vaccine mandates as unconstitutional.

Beyond the vaccine and public-health debate, the Gianforte administration has taken many steps to assist Montana hospitals during the recent surge, says Rich Rasmussen, president of the Montana Hospital Association.

“They’re delivering the resources,” he told MTN News. “When we’re asking for (help) from the National Guard, for other relief, we’re getting it.”

Rasmussen says the administration has helped hospitals find additional beds for patients, through rule changes and other steps; assigned National Guard troops to hospitals; assigned state staffers to help hospitals get federal emergency funds, and pushed to make monoclonal antibodies available as treatment.

“Everyone is scrambling for staff; it is intense in every state,” he says. “The Gianforte administration is working very hard to provide extra sets of hands for our hospitals.”

Meier also says he and the governor appreciate the long hours being put in by healthcare workers and state staffers working to battle the effects of the pandemic.

“It’s been an incredible amount of work to maintain that high degree of response, and always being on – it takes a toll,” he says. “It’s thankless; it’s endless.”

For the past three weeks, at least 400 people have been hospitalized in Montana for COVID-19, hitting a record high of 510 last Tuesday. And since early September, Montana has been averaging more than 800 new COVID-19 cases a day – about 10 times the level in July.

 

 

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PYPL ALERT: Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP Reminds Investors of Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against PayPal Holdings, Inc.

The law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP reminds PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) (“PayPal”) investors that a securities fraud class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against PayPal on behalf of those who purchased or acquired PayPal securities between February 9, 2017 and July 28, 2021, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR PAYPAL LOSSES

LEAD PLAINTIFF DEADLINE: October 19, 2021

CLASS PERIOD: February 9, 2017 through July 28, 2021

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TO DISCUSS YOUR RIGHTS:
James Maro, Esq. (484) 270-1453 or Toll Free (844) 887-9500 or via email at [email protected]

PAYPAL’S ALLEGED MISCONDUCT
PayPal is a technology platform and digital payments company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants worldwide. PayPal’s services include PayPal Credit and certain debit card services.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, the defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) PayPal had deficient disclosure controls and procedures; (2) as a result, PayPal’s business practices with respect to PayPal Credit remained non-compliant; (3) PayPal’s practices regarding payment of interchange rates related to its debit cards were likewise non-compliant with applicable laws and/or regulations; (4) accordingly, PayPal’s revenues derived from its PayPal Credit and debit card practices were in part the subject of improper conduct and thus unsustainable; (5) all the foregoing subjected PayPal to an increased risk of regulatory investigation and enforcement; and (6) as a result, PayPal’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.

WHAT CAN I DO?
PayPal investors may, no later than October 19, 2021, seek to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class through Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP or other counsel, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. Kessler Topaz Meltzer& Check, LLP encourages Hyzon investors who have suffered significant losses to contact the firm directly to acquire more information.

WHO CAN BE A LEAD PLAINTIFF?
A lead plaintiff is a representative party who acts on behalf of all class members in directing the litigation. The lead plaintiff is usually the investor or small group of investors who have the largest financial interest and who are also adequate and typical of the proposed class of investors. The lead plaintiff selects counsel to represent the lead plaintiff and the class and these attorneys, if approved by the court, are lead or class counsel. Because Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP prosecutes class actions on a contingency fee basis, there are no out-of-pocket fees or expenses paid by the lead plaintiff, regardless of the outcome of the case. If we are successful in obtaining a recovery for the class, we will apply to the court for a fee that fairly represents the work performed and risk assumed. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision of whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE CASE

ABOUT KESSLER TOPAZ MELTZER & CHECK, LLP
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP prosecutes class actions in state and federal courts throughout the country and around the world. The firm has developed a global reputation for excellence and has recovered billions of dollars for victims of fraud and other corporate misconduct. All of our work is driven by a common goal: to protect investors, consumers, employees and others from fraud, abuse, misconduct and negligence by businesses and fiduciaries. At the end of the day, we have succeeded if the bad guys pay up, and if you recover your assets. The complaint in this action was not filed by Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP. For more information about Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP please visit www.ktmc.com.

CONTACT:
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP
James Maro, Jr., Esq.
280 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087
(844) 887-9500 (toll free)
[email protected]

Russia’s daily COVID-19 deaths top 1,000 for first time

Russia’s daily death toll from COVID-19 has exceeded 1,000 for the first time as the country faces a sustained wave of rising infections.

The national coronavirus task force on Saturday reported 1,002 deaths in the previous day, up from 999 on Friday, along with 33,208 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, more than 1,000 higher than the day before.

Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread vaccine skepticism and conflicting signals from officials stymied the efforts. The government said this week that about 43 million Russians, or about 29% of the country’s nearly 146 million people, are fully vaccinated.

Despite the mounting toll, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one early on in the pandemic that badly hurt the economy, eroding President Vladimir Putin’s popularity. Instead, it has delegated the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.

Some of Russia’s 85 regions have restricted attendance at large public events and limited access to theaters, restaurants and other venues. However, daily life is going on largely as normal in Moscow, St. Petersburg and many other Russian cities.

Health Minister Mikhail Murashko acknowledged this week that medical facilities have come under growing strains and said authorities have offered retired medics who have gotten vaccinated the option of returning to work.

Overall, the coronavirus task force has registered more than 7,958,000 confirmed cases and 222,315 deaths — Europe’s highest death toll. The official record ranks Russia as having the fifth-most pandemic deaths in the world following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths in which the virus wasn’t considered the main cause, has reported a much higher pandemic death toll — about 418,000 people with COVID-19 as of August. Based on that number, Russia would rank as the fourth hardest-hit nation in the world, ahead of Mexico.

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Queensland records no new local cases, declares southern Tasmania a hotspot

Queenslanders returning from southern Tasmania have hours to make it home before they will be forced into hotel quarantine because of an ongoing COVID-19 threat in Hobart.

Meanwhile, Queensland recorded zero local cases on Saturday and three from the international quarantine hotels.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.CREDIT:MATT DENNIEN

The Tasmanian government sent 12 local government areas into a three-day lockdown from 6pm on Friday after an infected New South Wales man escaped hotel quarantine and spent 18 hours in the community before he was caught.

Queensland Health will declare the same 12 Tasmanian LGAs, which includes Hobart, hotspots from 1am on Sunday. Anyone arriving from these areas after that time will be told to enter hotel quarantine.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young urged anyone who arrived before that time, or who was already in Queensland after being anywhere in Tasmania from October 11, to monitor for symptoms.

Hobart Airport is listed as an exposure site.
Hobart Airport is listed as an exposure site.CREDIT:

However, she said anyone who had been to Tasmanian exposure sites during the risk periods must isolate immediately and get tested.

The exposure sites are:

Jetstar flight JQ715 from Melbourne to Hobart (arriving 8.27pm) on October 11;
Hobart Airport, including the arrivals hall, from 8.54pm to 10.07pm on October 11;
Hobart Airport arrivals area male bathroom from 9.10pm to 9.15pm and 9.25pm and 9.30pm on October 11; and
Woolworths Bridgewater (3.30pm to 4.00pm) on October 12

Victoria Police arrested 57 people in connection to anti-lockdown and anti-mandatory vaccination protests at a park in Melbourne’s inner north on Saturday.

A small number of demonstrators converged on Princes Park in Carlton North at midday, with organisers attempting to change location repeatedly due to heavy police presence across the suburb.

A spokeswoman for Victoria Police said 42 people were fined for breaking the Chief Health Officer’s COVID-19 directions.

“Victoria Police will continue to have a highly visible presence to maintain public safety, and to ensure any protest activity that breaches the CHO directions does not impact on the broader community’s right to go about their daily lives,” the spokeswoman said.

Washington: The White House on Friday said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective November 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States. In Italy, protests greeted the start of a national health pass designed to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Announcing the starting date for the new rules on travel into and out of the country, White House spokesman Kevin Munoz posted on Twitter that the policy “is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent”.

The unprecedented travel restrictions kept millions of visitors out of the United States from China, Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil, much of Europe and elsewhere; shrunk US tourism; and hurt border community economies. They prevented many loved ones and foreign workers from reuniting with families.

US allies had heavily lobbied the Biden administration to lift the rules.

Restrictions on non-US citizens were first imposed on air travellers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump and then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.

Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW’s move to effectively end quarantine for most travellers by opening international borders to those who are vaccinated from November

1 has raised questions over the purpose of the facility being built in Melbourne’s north.

The state government has committed to finish building the centre, which could be used to house people fleeing disasters once the pandemic is over. It is being funded by the federal government.

While most travellers will avoid it, the quarantine camp is likely to still have a use for unvaccinated people and those who come from high-risk countries, University of Melbourne epidemiologist Dr Driss Ait Ouakrim said.

A Greek Orthodox church in Melbourne’s north and a popular tourist spa in regional Victoria have been listed as the state’s latest tier-1 coronavirus exposure sites.

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church in Thomastown has been listed as an exposure site on October 10 between 8.30am and 1.00pm.

The Sanctuary Mineral Bathing Area at the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, around 118 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, was visited by a positive case on October 10 between 1pm and 2.30pm.

Earlier in the day, the Department of Health announced the Bendigo Wholefoods Cafe was a tier-1 exposure on Ocotber 9 between 7am and 4.30pm.

Anyone who visits a tier-1 exposure site must isolate for 14 days and get tested as soon as possible.

Australia’s top stories and the latest on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks for joining us on the blog today, we’ll be back tomorrow morning with more coverage of Australia’s top stories and the latest on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For now, let’s take a look back at the main stories across the day:-

Victoria recorded 1993 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with a 15-year-old girl with COVID-19 and other health conditions was listed among the seven Victorians who died from the virus in the past 24 hours.
NSW recorded 319 new locally acquired cases on Saturday, with two overseas cases and two deaths. The ACT has recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. Fourteen of these cases are linked to known cases or clusters.
NSW officially hit its 80 per cent double dose COVID-19 vaccination target today, triggering a second round of eased restrictions on Monday including 20 visitors being allowed at homes and the resumption of community sport.
Queensland recorded zero local cases on Saturday and three from the international quarantine hotels.
Victoria Police arrested 57 people in connection to anti-lockdown and anti-mandatory vaccination protests at Princes Park in Melbourne’s inner north on Saturday.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg urged the Victorian government to ease restrictions in the same way New South Wales has when double-dose vaccinations pass 70 per cent.
The White House on Friday said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective November 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States.

Victoria’s purpose-built $200 million quarantine facility still has a role to play in the pandemic, experts say, however it won’t be as crucial as anticipated due to high case numbers and vaccination rates.