Politics News

Business Highlights: Google Fined, Holiday Trading Quiet

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Russian court slaps Google, Meta with massive fines

MOSCOW: A Moscow court has fined Google nearly $100 million and Facebooks parent company Meta $27 million over their failure to delete content banned by local law. The Tagansky District Court ruled on Friday that Google repeatedly neglected to remove the banned content, and ordered the company to pay a 7.2-billion ruble ($98.4-million) fine. Google said it would study the court documents before deciding on its next steps. Later Friday, the court also slapped a 1.9 billion ruble ($27.2 million) fine on Meta for its failure to remove banned content. Russian authorities have ramped up pressure on tech companies this year, accusing them of failing to remove calls for unsanctioned protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

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Omicron is latest blow to pandemic-weary front-line workers

BOSTON: The surge in coronavirus cases driven by the new omicron variant is the latest blow to hospitals, police departments, supermarkets and other critical operations struggling to maintain staffing levels. COVID-19 absences among workers at London hospitals tripled this month, and nearly 10% of the citys firefighters were out sick. In New York, about twice as many police officers took sick time this week than normal. Countries such as Spain have eased quarantine rules to allow more people to continue working. Some U.S. states have called in the National Guard to help boost short-handed hospitals.

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US to lift omicron-linked travel ban on southern Africa

WASHINGTON: The U.S. will lift travel restrictions on eight southern African countries that it imposed to try to blunt the spread of the COVID omicron variant. The White House says the temporary travel bans bought scientists necessary time to study the new virus variant first discovered in South Africa. The World Health Organization and leaders in southern Africa criticized the travel ban as ineffective. The ban had barred entry to all non-U.S. citizens who had been in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It will be lifted on New Years Eve.

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Airlines cancel flights due to COVID staffing shortages

NEW YORK: Airlines are canceling hundreds of flights as the omicron variant jumbled schedules and drew down staffing levels at some carriers during the busy holiday travel season. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said Friday they canceled flights because of staff shortages tied to the omicron variant, while other airlines say operations are proceeding normally. Flight delays and cancellations tied to staffing shortages have been a regular problem for the U.S. airline industry this year as travel recovered. While some travelers canceled holiday plans because of rising case numbers, many others kept to their vacations during some of the years busiest travel days.

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China denounces US law on Xinjiang imports

BEIJING: The Chinese government has denounced a U.S. law that restricts imports from Xinjiang as a violation of international law and dismissed complaints of abuses against mostly Muslim minorities in the region as lies. President Joe Biden signed the measure amid mounting tension including appeals by activists for a boycott of Februarys Winter Olympics in Beijing. It prohibits U.S. businesses from importing goods from Xinjiang unless they can be proven not to have been made by forced labor. A foreign ministry spokesman said the measure disregards the truth and interferes in Chinas affairs. Foreign governments and researchers say more than 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities have been confined in camps in Xinjiang.

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Spains king urges renewed caution amid surge

Spains King Felipe VI has warned citizens to remain cautious as the coronavirus can still inflict widespread damage. His annual Christmas Eve speech came amid a record number of infections in the country Friday. Health authorities have reported three days in a row of record-breaking caseloads and have reinstituted mandatory mask-wearing in open spaces with few exceptions. We all have to do everything possible not to take steps backwards in this health crisis that has caused so much suffering, Felipe said.

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Stocks mixed across global markets in quiet holiday trading

BEIJING: Global stocks were mixed in quiet trading on Friday, with many markets closed or ending early in observance of Christmas. Stocks slipped in Paris and Tokyo, inched higher in Seoul and Hong Kong and were nearly unchanged in London. Financial markets took the day off in the United States, Germany and many other countries. A day earlier, Wall Streets S&P 500 set a record as fears ebbed about how badly the omicron variant will hit the economy. Of course, much is still uncertain about omicron, which seems to spread extremely quickly. Several airlines canceled flights Friday because many workers called in sick.

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Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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