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L.A. Is Set to Become the First Major U.S. School District to Require Vaccinations for Students

The New York Times reported:

Los Angeles is poised to become the first major school district in the United States to mandate coronavirus vaccines for students 12 and older who are attending class in person.

The district’s elected Board of Education will meet Thursday afternoon to vote on the measure, which is expected to pass with broad support. The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest in the nation, serving over 600,000 students, and the mandate could set an important national precedent.

Students would need their first vaccine dose by Nov. 21 and their second by Dec. 19 to begin the next semester fully inoculated. Those who turn 12 after those dates will have 30 days after their birthday to receive their first shot.

United Airlines Staff With Vaccine Religious Exemptions Face Unpaid Leave

Axios reported:

United Airlines staffers who are granted religious exemptions for the company’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate will be placed on temporary unpaid leave starting Oct. 2, the airline told employees in a memo.

Driving the news: United last month became the first major U.S. airline to institute a vaccine mandate for employees, and acknowledged then it would consider exemptions for religious, personal or medical exemptions.

Details: The unpaid leave rule applies to all employees who get an exemption, regardless of their role in the company, per the statement. It is in effect until “specific safety measures for unvaccinated employees are instituted,” the airline wrote.

Even in Red States, Colleges Gravitate to Requiring Vaccines and Masks

Kaiser Health News reported:

As students head to college this fall, hundreds of schools are requiring employees and students to be vaccinated against COVID, wear masks on campus or both.

But at some schools, partisan politics have bolstered efforts to stymie public health protections.

Events at the University of South Carolina, in a deeply conservative state, demonstrate the limits of political pressure in some cases, even though “South Carolina is a red state and its voters generally eschew mandates,” said Jeffrey Stensland, a spokesperson for the school.

Los Angeles Firefighters, Cops Pushing Back on ‘Unconstitutional’ COVID Vaccine Mandate

Fox News reported:

Hundreds of Los Angeles firefighters and police officers are pushing back on a coronavirus vaccine mandate.

“It’s not necessarily whether I want to get vaccinated or not. The point that we are bringing to the table here is that we should have a choice in the matter,” “Firefighters 4 Freedom” leader John Knox told “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt.

Firefighters 4 Freedom was launched by a group of Los Angeles city firefighters “to stop the mandated vaccinations for all city employees as well as the citizens of this great country,” their website states.

COVID, Vaccine Misinformation Spread by Hundreds of Websites, Analysis Finds

USA TODAY reported:

More than 500 websites have promoted misinformation about the coronavirus – including debunked claims about vaccines, according to a firm that rates the credibility of websites.

NewsGuard announced Wednesday that of the more than 6,700 websites it has analyzed, 519 have published false information about COVID-19. Some of the sites publish dubious health information or political conspiracy theories, while others were “created specifically to spread misinformation about COVID-19,” the company says on its website.

NY Delays State Worker Office Return and Vaccine Mandate

The Associated Press reported:

New York has delayed its requirement that state employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly tests by more than a month to Oct. 12, the same day telecommuting workers are now scheduled to return to their offices.

In-person state workplace rules were scheduled to restart this past Tuesday, and the vaccinate-or-test mandate was to go into effect this week for about 130,000 state workers.

But Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office of employee relations quietly outlined the changes in an internal memo sent Friday.

The memo also broadens mask mandates for vaccinated workers. Masks must now be worn in state facilities located in places with local mask mandates or in areas with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19 as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

‘Religious’ Exemptions Add Legal Thorns to Looming Vaccine Mandates

Kaiser Health News reported:

In Northern California, the pastor of a megachurch hands out religious exemption forms to the faithful. A New Mexico state senator will “help you articulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of some vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist offers exemption letters to anyone — for a suggested “donation” starting at $25.

With workplace vaccine mandates in the offing, opponents are turning to a tried-and-true recourse for avoiding a COVID-19 shot: the claim that vaccination interferes with religious beliefs.

No major denomination opposes vaccination. Even the Christian Science Church, whose adherents rely largely on prayer rather than medicine, does not impose an official policy. It counsels “respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the land, including those requiring vaccination.”

Project Maven: Amazon and Microsoft Scored $50 Million in Pentagon Surveillance Contracts After Google Quit

Forbes reported:

After Google decided to quit working on Project Maven in 2018 thanks to staff protests, rivals Amazon and Microsoft quietly took on Department of Defense contracts worth $50 million to help the military identify objects from drone and other aerial footage, according to a new analysis of federal government contract records.

Contracts discovered by Jack Poulson, founder of big tech monitor Tech Inquiry and a former Google AI researcher, show Microsoft scored $30 million and Amazon Web Services $20 million in subcontract awards that were part of three overall deals between the Pentagon and ECS Federal, Google’s partner and reseller for Project Maven.

Big Tech Censors

World reported:

When you last worried — if, indeed, you are such a worrier — about the loss of basic freedoms in our nation and culture, were you concerned most about outside forces bringing that about (China, Russia, radical Islam, etc.) or forces within (socialism in government or public schools, leftism in the media, etc.)?

There is a third possibility. More and more dominant in the news in recent years has been the bullying role of “corporate America.” Some of that perhaps predictably involves the strong-arm actions of giant corporate newcomers like Amazon, Facebook, or Apple. More ominously, it includes historic companies like Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Delta Airlines.

The irony in all this, of course, is that these huge corporate entities — both old and new — owe their birth, their growth, and their robust history to our core freedoms. Our Bill of Rights has liberated the entrepreneurial spirit throughout our history and throughout the nation.

But that same Bill of Rights is now being gnawed away by the leaders and executives of many of the megacorporations that have benefited from its freedoms. By censoring their opponents’ products and boycotting their rivals’ services, they “cancel” their enemies where marketplace competition used to prevail.

Scotland to Launch Vaccine Passports October 1

BBC News reported:

People in Scotland will need proof they have been fully vaccinated before they can enter nightclubs and many large events from 1 October.

The vaccine passport plan was formally approved by Holyrood after the SNP and Greens voted in favor.

Japan Eyes Use of Vaccine Passports for Commercial Activities

Kyodo News reported:

Japan is considering a wide usage of so-called vaccine passports for commercial purposes as part of efforts to regularize domestic social and economic activities that have long been stagnant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a draft government plan.

Such certificates will allow users entry and usage at stores and sites for entry, with business operators free to decide what kind of services they will offer and to whom to provide such services, the draft says.