US

Tonga out of list of countries eligible for US seasonal and guest worker visas

Kaniva News reports the H-2A and H-2B visa programmes allow employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, respectively. 

Tonga has already lost the opportunity to participate in the January recruitment for New Zealand’s RSE scheme. 

The New Zealand government wanted all RSE workers repatriated before Tonga could be allocated a new share of the 2000 employees who were expected to arrive in New Zealand this month.

Tonga was the only Pacific nation with RSE workers left in New Zealand. 

All 50 US states on alert for armed protests

National Guard troops have been sent en masse to Washington DC, to deter any repeat of last week's deadly riots.

The FBI has warned of possible armed marches by pro-Trump supporters at all 50 state capitols.

Meanwhile, the Biden team has set out plans to reverse key Trump policies.

In the hours after Mr Biden sets foot in the White House, he will embark on a blitz of executive actions designed to signal a clean break from his predecessor's administration, according to a memo seen by US media.

Among the actions:

US approves Moderna as second Covid-19 vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the US-made jab about a week after approving a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which is now being distributed.

The US has agreed to purchase 200 million doses of Moderna, and six million may be ready to ship now.

The country has the world's highest numbers of Covid-19 deaths and cases.

It has recorded at least 311,529 deaths and 17,269,542 infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US Covid vaccinations to begin on Monday

The first three million doses of the vaccine would be shipped "across all states" this weekend, said General Gustave Perna, who is overseeing distribution.

The vaccine offers up to 95 percent protection against Covid-19 and was deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA said its approval for use was a "significant milestone" in the crisis.

The US agency authorised the emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Friday, after coming under intense pressure from the Trump administration to do so.

First Americans 'could get vaccine in early December'

Dr Moncef Slaoui told US network CNN the plan was to "ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours" of a vaccine being approved.

The comments come amid a surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

The US has recorded more than 12m cases and 255,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

These are the highest tolls registered anywhere in the world.

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its partner BioNTech submitted an application on Friday for emergency authorisation in the US of their Covid-19 vaccine.

US surpasses 10 million Covid-19 cases amid surging third wave of infections

The grim milestone came on the same day as global coronavirus cases exceeded 50m.

The US has reported about a million cases in the past 10 days, the highest rate of infections since the nation reported its first novel coronavirus case in Washington state 293 days ago.

The country reported a record 131,420 Covid-19 cases on Saturday and has reported over 100,000 infections four times in the past seven days, according to a Reuters tally.

US cases reach record high amid new wave of infections

Citing data from local state health authorities, the Covid Tracking Project reported 83,010 new cases on Friday.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams has warned that hospital admission numbers are growing, but mortality rates are falling due to better patient care.

It comes as pharma giants AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson resume US vaccine trials after approval from regulators.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned that countries in the Northern Hemisphere are at a "critical juncture".

US wildfires leave dozens missing in Oregon, state governor says

Fires have been raging in California, Oregon and Washington for three weeks.

Fanned by winds amid record heat, the blazes have burnt millions of acres, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed at least 25 people.

California's Governor Gavin Newsom said the fires show the debate around climate change is "over".

"Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes," he told reporters from a charred mountainside.

Baseball to resume in empty stadiums

Regarded as the U.S. national pastime, ball parks that would be filled with fans and buzzing with excitement on opening day will stand empty as the country struggles to contain the virus that has claimed more than 140,000 American lives.

MLB makes its return mid-summer having been forced to shutdown mid-March during Spring training, with the New York Yankees visiting the World Series champion Washington Nationals and the Dodgers hosting the San Francisco Giants.

US coronavirus cases shatter records and rise by 75,000 in single day

US deaths are also rising and have recently reached the highest levels since early June, led by Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to the tally.

More than half of all states - 30 out of 50 - have reported record one-day increases in cases this month. Infections are rising in almost all states, based on a Reuters analysis of cases the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.

If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis.