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LA Begins Enforcing Strict Mandate Requiring Proof of Vax

Associated Press reported:

Enforcement began Monday in Los Angeles for one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country, a sweeping measure that requires proof of shots for everyone entering a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to theaters and gyms to nail and hair salons.

A first offense will bring a warning but subsequent ones could produce fines running from $1,000 to $5,000. Inspectors with the Department of Building and Safety will enforce the mandate, and the city hopes to eventually get assistance from the LA County Department of Public Health, Tso said.

NYC Corrections Officers to Work 12-Hour Shifts as 24% Unvaccinated Before Deadline

Newsweek reported:

Employees of the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) are moving to 12-hour shifts ahead of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline on Tuesday.

The mandate for DOC personnel is 5 p.m. Tuesday on an executive order signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The DOC announced longer shifts are a move to ensure there will be enough staff available.

The vaccination rate for the department was 76% as of Monday, meaning around 2,000 workers have yet to comply with the mandate.

Supreme Court Shuts Down Request to Let Massachusetts Hospital Staff Sidestep Vaccine Mandate

Business Insider reported:

The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a request to let staff at a Massachusetts hospital sidestep a vaccine mandate for religious reasons.

Eight former and current employees at Mass General Brigham filed the request last week with Justice Stephen Breyer, who oversees the circuit where the request was filed, according to court documents reviewed by Insider.

Breyer denied the request with a one-line summary.

Massachusetts Governor Mulling Vaccine Passports for Residents

The Hill reported:

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is floating the idea of implementing vaccine passport requirements for residents soon.

During an appearance on GBH News Boston Public Radio, Baker said he and officials from other states have been working to create a QR code that would be scanned to show a person’s vaccination status.

“It’s a universal standard and we’ve been working with a bunch of other states, there’s probably 15 or 20 of them, to try to create a single QR code that can be used for all sorts of things where people may choose to require a vaccine,” Baker said.

City Declares Independence From California in Vaccine Protest

Newsweek reported:

A city in northern California has made a symbolic gesture of defiance against the state’s COVID mandates by declaring itself a “constitutional republic.”

The city council in Oroville voted 6-1 in a declaration aimed at showing its opposition to measures aimed at mitigating the pandemic, such as requirements that schoolchildren be vaccinated.

Leaders in the city of about 20,000 people about 70 miles south of state capital Sacramento, said the designation was a way to stand up against state rules it did not agree with, although the move is unlikely to have any legal standing.

International Travelers Stranded, Angry in Omicron’s Wake: ‘The First Thing I Did Was Cry’

The Washington Post reported:

Various governments scramble to place restrictions on travel, closing their borders to southern African countries amid concern about the potentially dangerous variant, dubbed Omicron. Those rule changes are already having ripple effects for travelers as the holiday season gets underway.

Travelers have been left stuck abroad, desperately trying to get home amid a slew of cancellations, while others are scratching plans to see loved ones in other countries — for many the latest in a series of pandemic-induced travel frustrations, coming only weeks after the United States lifted its ban on visitors from 33 countries.

‘This Wasn’t in the Job Description’ HR Departments Are Navigating Confusing COVID Religious Exemption Requests

Time reported:

As businesses across the country start imposing strict COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements, some employees are claiming religious exemptions to avoid getting vaccinated — putting human resources departments on the frontlines of a fraught political issue that has already proven fertile ground for lawsuits.

The task before HR leaders is tricky: they have to figure out whether employees are applying for an exemption based on authentic religious beliefs or whether it’s a cover for their political views.

What employers assess is not so much whether perceived leaders of an organized religion endorse vaccines but whether an individual’s religious belief is authentic and informs other aspects of their life beyond getting out of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts to Quarantine Camps

ZeroHedge reported:

The Australian army has begun forcibly removing residents in the Northern Territories to the Howard Springs quarantine camp located in Darwin, after nine new COVID-19 cases were identified in the community of Binjari. The move comes after hard lockdowns were instituted in the communities of both Binjari and nearby Rockhole on Saturday night.

“Residents of Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their homes,” said Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, referring to the country’s five allowable reasons to avoid lockdown (buying food and supplies, exercising for up to two hours, care or caregiving, work or education if it can’t be done from home, and to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location).

Of note, the Northern Territories are home to a large percentage of indigenous Australians.

Defense Secretary Warns Oklahoma’s GOP Governor That Troops Who Don’t Get COVID Vaccine Are Putting Their Careers in Jeopardy

Business Insider reported:

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied a request from Oklahoma’s governor to exempt the state’s National Guard troops from the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate.

In a letter sent to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday, Austin did not specify how the mandate would be enforced but said that failure to comply with the vaccine mandate may “jeopardize” troops’ status in the National Guard.

Stitt, a Republican, made the request in early November for Austin to exempt Oklahoma Guardsmen from the vaccine mandate.

Greece Will Impose Monthly ‘Health Fee’ to Unvaccinated Adults Over 60 as Cases Surge

Newsweek reported:

On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the country would make COVID-19 vaccinations for all citizens of Greece who are over 60 years of age mandatory. In addition, he said those who refuse to get vaccinated will have to pay a monthly fine of 100 euros (approximately $114).

“It is not a punishment,” Mitsotakis said of the fine. “I would say it is a health fee.”

“The new Omicron variant is a concern for us and means we must be vigilant,” he added.

COVID: As Rules on Mask Wearing in England Return, What Exactly Is the Law?

The Guardian reported:

As part of targeted measures to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, from 4 a.m. on 30 November, people in England will be required by law to wear a face covering in certain places.

The measure will be introduced as a precaution while more information is gathered and assessed on the variant’s transmissibility and any possible effect on COVID-19 vaccines, Downing Street said.

Face coverings are compulsory in shops and settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport, unless individuals are exempt.

You’re Not Paranoid to Cover Your Webcam. But the Cameras You Can’t Cover Are Scarier.

The Washington Post reported:

“Everybody tells you, ‘Cover your webcam — people could be watching you.’ But I’m thinking to myself, like, why would somebody want to watch me?” said John Goncalves, a 19-year-old student on a gap year in Toronto.

But that doesn’t mean the camera on your device isn’t a potential vector for spying. Hackers can worm their way into outdated operating systems or compromise the apps you’ve granted camera access.

Twitter Prohibits Sharing of Personal Photos, Videos Without Consent

Reuters reported:

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) said on Tuesday it will not allow sharing of personal media such as photos and videos on its platform without the consent of the person.

The social media company’s privacy policy already prohibits sharing of other people’s private information such as phone numbers, addresses and IDs.

Cell-Based Living Robots Can Reproduce Themselves

Engadget reported:

It might soon be easy to build living robots — because they’ll build themselves. New Scientist reports Harvard University, Tufts University and University of Vermont researchers have learned that their frog cell-based Xenobots can self-reproduce.

The custom organisms can collect “hundreds” of individual cells in their dishes to spontaneously assemble baby bots that grow up within a few days.

Yes, the researchers are aware of the technical and ethical problems with robots that copy themselves without prompting. The team’s goal is to understand the self-reproduction and learn how to “control it, direct it, douse it, exaggerate it,” according to project co-leader Joshua Bongard.