Wave of canceled flights ends 2021
More canceled flights frustrated air travelers on the final day of 2021 and appeared all but certain to inconvenience hundreds of thousands more over the New Year’s holiday weekend.
Airlines blamed many of the cancellations on crew shortages related to the spike in COVID-19 infections, with wintry weather in parts of the United States compounding the problem.
District of Columbia
Boosters urged for nursing home staff
WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Thursday pressed nursing home workers to get their booster shots amid a spike in COVID-19 cases among staffers and a concerning lag in booster vaccination for residents and staff.
The omicron variant “is lightning fast, and we can’t afford another COVID-19 surge in nursing homes,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a livestreamed appeal to the industry. “You know that. I know that. Higher numbers of COVID cases would likely once again have a devastating impact on our loved ones … and we know we just have to work doubly hard to keep them safe.”
Intense Southern storms damage homes
WINFIELD — Homes and buildings were damaged and trees were blown down as a line of intense thunderstorms rolled across several Southern states, authorities said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
In the west Alabama town of Winfield, Wednesday’s storms damaged buildings in the downtown area, authorities said.
1 in 25 people likely has COVID-19
LONDON — New figures from Britain’s official statistics body estimate that about 1 in 25 people in private households in England had COVID-19 in the week before Christmas, as the highly transmissible omicron variant spread.
The number jumped from 1 in 45 in the previous week, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. One in 25 is the equivalent of about 2 million people with coronavirus in England.
Police raid news outlet, charge editors
HONG KONG — Two former editors from a Hong Kong online pro-democracy news outlet were charged with sedition and denied bail Thursday, a day after one of the last openly critical voices in the city said it would cease operations following a police raid on its office and seven arrests.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called on Hong Kong authorities to release the detainees, and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly said her country was deeply concerned about the arrests.
Half of nuclear plants shut down
BERLIN — Germany on Friday is shutting down half of the six nuclear plants it still has in operation, a year before the country draws the final curtain on its decades-long use of atomic power.
The decision to phase out nuclear power and shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy was first taken by the center-left government of Gerhard Schroeder in 2002.