US

Indianapolis FedEx gunman was former employee

Police named the suspect as 19-year-old Brandon Hole, who last worked at the company in 2020.

He began shooting "randomly" almost immediately after exiting his car, according to police.

Seven people were also injured and the gunman apparently killed himself before police arrived, officials say.

This is the latest incident in a recent uptick of mass shootings across the US.

The victims in Thursday's shootings have not yet been named.

A statement from FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick Smith described the incident as a "senseless act of violence".

US agencies call for pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said six cases in 6.8 million doses had been reported and it was acting "out of an abundance of caution".

Following the news, South Africa, the first country to use the jab, said it would suspend its rollout.

Johnson & Johnson said it would also delay its vaccine drive in Europe.

The US move follows similar rare cases in the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has prompted some curbs in its use.

Reports of shooting at Knoxville, Tennessee high school with one dead and multiple victims - police

One person has been killed in the shooting, Local 10 News reports, citing a police statement.

"Multiple gunshot victims reported, including a KPD officer. The investigation remains active at this time," Knoxville police said on Twitter.

Authorities did not say if the gunman had been taken into custody but the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported that one person had been detained in connection with the shooting.

Television news images showed police and fire crews surrounding Austin-East High School in east Knoxville.

US rules out vaccine passports

Schemes to introduce such passports have been touted around the world as a way to enable safe circulation of people while fighting the pandemic.

The US said it did not and would not support a "system that requires Americans to carry a credential".

America has lost more than half a million lives to the virus.

Nearly 31 million cases have been registered, making the US the country worst affected by the pandemic, figures from Johns Hopkins University indicate.

Stray dog in US adopted after repeatedly breaking into store to steal stuffed unicorn

Sisu, a one-year-old stray, came to the Dollar General store in Kenansville, North Carolina, five times to steal the same stuffed toy when animal control was called on Tuesday NZT, CNN reports.

The Duplin County Animal Control officer who attended the scene to take Sisu away didn't leave him empty-pawed, however, as he decided to buy the coveted toy for him instead.

US and allies promise one billion jabs for South East Asia

The joint commitment was made following the first leaders' meeting of the so-called Quad - a group formed in 2007.

The vaccines - expected to be the single-dose Johnson & Johnson product - are set to be manufactured in India.

The US said the "massive joint commitment" would initially focus on delivering doses to South East Asia.

US passes half a million Covid deaths

It comes just over a year after the first infection of the novel coronavirus, first detected in China, was recorded on the US west coast.

The grim milestone will be marked by a candle-lighting ceremony and moment of silence at the White House. President Joe Biden will also deliver remarks.

More than 28.1 million Americans have been infected - another global record.

Forum chair welcomes US re-entry to Paris Agreement

With hours of his taking the oath as the 46th US President, Joe Biden issued an executive order for the US to return to the Paris Agreement.

Forum Chair Kausea Natano, who is Tuvalu's prime minister, said that the US order was a priority was warmly appreciated in the Pacific

Natano said he looked forward to continued and strengthened relationships between the people of the Pacific and the US, especially on the climate crisis facing the 'Blue Pacific'.

US Capitol shut down briefly out of caution over nearby fire

Police say they acted out of an abundance of caution after witnesses reported smoke rising nearby. The fire was several blocks away.

A rehearsal for Mr Biden's inauguration was suspended.

Security is tight, with thousands of National Guard members deployed at the Capitol and around central Washington DC, after five people died on 6 January when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, home to the US Congress.

An alert circulated earlier to Capitol staff said the complex was on lockdown, with no-one being allowed in or out.

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.