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Covid 19 Pandemic

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New York (AP) — Country music star Kelsea Ballerini had no intentions of starting a new job as an author in 2020. She did plan to tour her new album, “Kelsea” — then the coronavirus pandemic shut down most of the world. As COVID-19 all but stopped the touring industry, the Grammy nominee began to express her feelings through poetry.

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NEW YORK (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries decided Thursday to maintain the amount of oil they pump to the world even as the new omicron variant casts a spikey shadow of uncertainty over the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that people who aren't vaccinated will be excluded from nonessential stores, cultural and recreational venues, and parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate as part of efforts to curb coronavirus infections that again topped 70,000 newly confirmed cases in a 24-hour period.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders reached agreement Thursday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the federal government running through mid-February, though a temporary shutdown was still possible with some Senate Republicans holding out over the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some workers.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to kick off a more urgent campaign for Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots Thursday as he unveils his winter plans for combating the coronavirus and its omicron variant with enhanced availability of shots and vaccines but without major new restrictions.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government could be heading for a temporary shutdown, with Republicans poised to stall a must-pass funding bill in their effort to force a debate in Congress on rolling back the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some workers.

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