United Airlines says that more than half its employees who weren’t vaccinated last month have gotten their shots since the company announced that vaccines would be required.

The airline’s 67,000 U.S.-based employees face a Sept. 27 deadline for getting vaccinated. United said Wednesday, however, that employees whose bids for exemptions based on medical reasons or religious beliefs are denied will get five more weeks to get vaccinated.

After that, the airline said, they will face termination or unpaid leave.

Kirk Limacher, United’s vice president of human resources, made the statement about vaccinations Wednesday in memos to employees that spell out how United will handle requests for exemptions.

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United declined to say exactly how many employees have recently been vaccinated, what percentage of the workforce is now vaccinated, or how many workers requested an exemption. The airline said it will have enough workers to operate its schedule this fall and into the holidays.

The airline said that in most cases, employees who refuse to get vaccinated won’t be allowed into the workplace starting Oct. 2.

United says requests for medical exemptions will be judged by medical staffers including nurses, while requests for waivers based on religious beliefs will be handled by personnel-office employees.

The process for handling workers whose exemptions are approved will vary slightly depending on the employee’s job.

Workers who routinely come in contact with passengers, such as flight attendants, gate agents and pilots, and whose exemptions are approved will face indefinite unpaid leave starting Oct. 2. They won’t be allowed back on the job until the pandemic “meaningfully recedes,” according to one of the memos.

Employees who rarely deal with passengers – examples include baggage handlers and mechanics – and whose exemptions are approved will also be put on leave, but only until the airline comes up with a plan for weekly testing and mandatory mask-wearing for them.

Headquarters employees whose exemptions are approved will be placed on leave until United decides on safety measures, including whether the person needs to come into the office.

In explaining the rules to employees, United cites statistics on the state of the pandemic in the U.S., where new infections are at their highest level since March and “likely to rise into the fall as more people are hospitalized.” Most of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among unvaccinated people, the memos said.

Chicago-based United has taken the strongest pro-vaccination stance among U.S. airlines. Delta Air Lines says it will levy a $200 monthly surcharge on unvaccinated employees who are covered by the company’s health plan. Others including American Airlines say they will cut off paid leave for unvaccinated workers who contract COVID-19.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

  • U.S.-exposed retailers worst performers
  • Weak U.S. jobs could delay Fed tapering, boost stocks- analyst
  • Euro zone business activity strong in Aug – PMI
  • STOXX 600 ends the week flat

Sept 3 (Reuters) – European stocks slipped on Friday as U.S. employment data pointed towards slowing growth in the world’s largest economy, with retail and travel stocks exposed to American markets suffering the most.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) slipped 0.6%, marking its worst fall in two weeks after data showed the U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in seven month in August. Global equities also tumbled after the data. read more

Retail stocks (.SXRP) were among the worst performers for the day, dropping 0.9%. Bookseller WH Smith (SMWH.L), which makes at least a quarter of its earnings from U.S. customers, was the worst performer in the sector, down 3.4%.

Travel stocks (.SXTP) sank 1%.

The laggard U.S. data was attributed to a rise in the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. But analysts saw a bright side in the reading, specifically that weakness in the job market would give less impetus to the Federal Reserve to rein in liquidity measures.

“Friday’s weaker-than-expected jobs puts less pressure on the Fed to taper its stimulus, which is likely to provide a short-term boost for stocks. The stock market loves stimulus and any indication that the Fed will remain fully accommodative is good news for investors,” said Jay Pestrichelli, CEO of ZEGA Financial.

European technology stocks (.SX8P) were the best performers for the week, up nearly 2% as investors fled to sectors most resilient to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

A private survey also showed activity in China’s services sector contracted sharply in August as restrictions to curb the COVID-19 Delta variant threatened to derail the recovery. read more

But euro zone business activity remained strong last month, IHS Markit’s survey showed, suggesting the bloc’s economy could be back to pre-COVID-19 levels by year-end despite fears about the Delta variant of the coronavirus and widespread supply chain issue. read more

The European Central Bank will meet next week amid calls from several hawkish members to slow down its pandemic-era purchases programme. A Reuters poll sees the bank announcing a cut to its asset purchases, given a recent spike in inflation. read more

Payments company Nexi (NEXII.MI) slipped 0.8% after Italy’s competition watchdog said it had opened an investigation into the company’s planned merger with domestic rival SIA.

Spanish fund distribution firm Allfunds (ALLFG.AS) jumped 11.7%, and was the best performer on the STOXX 600 after its maiden first-half results beat expectations.

German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) is expected to announce new entrants to the blue-chip DAX index (.GDAXI) on Friday, part of the index’s biggest ever overhaul.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The United Kingdom may open for vaccinated U.S-based travelers by the end of the summer according to reports. 

The news comes as the United Kingdom announced that fully vaccinated British travelers coming from ‘amber list’ countries won’t face having to quarantine when they arrive back in the UK. 

uk us flags

Grant Shapps, the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, stated “I can confirm today that from the 19th of July, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England.”

He also went on to say, “We’re working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets and holiday destinations, later this summer, such as the United States and the EU.

The United Kingdom has lost millions of inbound arrivals into the UK since the pandemic began. The nation recorded 40.9 million visits in 2019, but this dropped 11 million in 2020. Over 4.7 million Americans visited the U.K in 2020, but that number dropped to 730,000 during 2020.  

The Current Entry Requirements

All visitors into the U.K. must provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arriving in the UK. They should also fill in the passenger locator form on the government website. U.S. citizens are currently on the U.K’s amber list, meaning U.S travelers can come to the U.K, but they need to book two COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 after they arrive. 

UK Goes into 2nd Lockdown

Travelers from amber list countries, such as the United States, will have to quarantine for 10 days after their arrival. That has forced many Americans away from the U.K in the previous 12 months. 

uk face mask covid

The U.K and U.S Travel Bubble 

There has been massive speculation from both governments that the travel bubble will begin this summer. However, reports suggest that this is unlikely this summer and may only happen towards the end of the year.

One of the biggest obstacles for the travel bubble – which would remove restrictions both ways – is the type of vaccines. The United States hasn’t approved AstraZeneca, the British-made and most widely used vaccine in the U.K. 

The U.S government may class many UK citizens, especially those over the age of 40 as unvaccinated. There’s also the issue of rising Delta Variant cases. The U.K is going through a third wave of COVID-19 because of the highly transmissible Delta Variant.

The Current COVID-19 Situation In Britain

Although the country will drop all COVID-19 restrictions on July 19th, some scientists expect cases to rise to 100,000 cases per day by the end of July. It’s likely this could halt plans for the travel bubble. 

Confusing UK Travel System Criticized By Those In The Industry

The United Kingdom has vaccinated massive amounts of its population. Over 45 million UK citizens have received at least one vaccination dose since January. The country is set to meet its target of vaccinating its entire adult population by the end of this month. 

Nonetheless, the rising cases of the

Health workers are seen at Bondi Beach Drive-through Covid-19 Clinic on June 26 in Sydney.

Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Health workers are seen at Bondi Beach Drive-through Covid-19 Clinic on June 26 in Sydney.

Quarantine-free travel to South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory has resumed, but one epidemiologist warns anyone planning a trip should be prepared to spend weeks or even months stuck there.

University of Auckland epidemiology professor Rod Jackson said the Government should be prepared to suspend the bubble at the first sign of community transmission across the ditch, and travellers needed to be aware they could be stranded at a moment’s notice.

“I’ve seen some things in the newspaper and the media about people complaining they are not being helped by the New Zealand government when they’re stuck in Australia and can’t come back.

“I think that they need to suck it up, that anyone who wants to go to Australia needs to be aware that at a moment’s notice they could end up being there for weeks, if not months.”

READ MORE:
* Should the trans-Tasman bubble be paused until more people are vaccinated?
* Covid-19: What’s happening in Australia as coronavirus continues to spread in some states
* Covid-19: New Zealand is right to pause travel to Australia. It buys time to upgrade its coronavirus response

Jackson said he was confident in Australia’s handling of Covid-19, with their approach similar to New Zealand’s.

“But – and the big but is – if there’s even some possibility of any community spread in Australia we need to shut down immediately.”

A negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure will now be required for all passengers before boarding flights to New Zealand from South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Inbound travellers also cannot have been in certain red zones since certain dates.

These include a requirement not to have been in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia on or after 10.30pm on June 26.

Travellers must also not have been in New South Wales since midnight on June 22.

The pause in the travel bubble for Western Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland remain in place. These will be reviewed on Tuesday.

The most recent numbers reveal 16 new local cases of Covid-19 recorded in New South Wales, with most in isolation for their full infectious period.

The dip in new cases follows Saturday having the highest number of daily cases so far this year.

Experts have started advising caution on re-establishing the Australian travel bubble too quickly, with new threats from the highly infectious Delta variant likely to make accidental importation of the virus more likely.

Jackson said the principle should be remaining overly cautious.

.

“I don’t think we can change that approach until nearly everyone is vaccinated.”

He said New Zealand needed to aim for a 90 per cent vaccination rate because evidence from the likes of the UK showed even with 60-70 per cent of eligible adults vaccinated, outbreaks were still happening.

“That’s the task for the team of 5 million

The 49ers are copying a similar strategy to cope with their two-game start to the 2021 NFL schedule, staying back east to avoid extra travel.

It’s looking like the San Francisco 49ers won’t be earning quite as many travel points as they might have gained early in the season.

One of the Niners’ wrinkles in the 2021 NFL schedule was seeing back-to-back road games to open up the year, Week 1 against the Detroit Lions and Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Frequently, ever since San Francisco moved to Levi’s Stadium in 2014, the team has asked either for night games in early September or road games to account for the notable heat, especially on the eastern concourse.

But when back-to-back trips east have hit the calendar, the 49ers have frequently found themselves staying back east in between games.

It looks like that’ll be the case again in 2021.

NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported, citing a source, “players, coaches and some other staff members will remain on the East Coast between their first two games of the season.”

According to Maiocco, The Greenbrier in West Virginia will play hosts to the Niners again after serving the same role a year ago when they visited the New York Jets and New York Giants in Weeks 2 and 3 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Previously, San Francisco had stayed back east at Youngstown State University in Ohio, as well as IMG Academy in Florida.

Related Story: 3 biggest trap games on 49ers’ 2021 calendar

Without the slight diversion now on the calendar, the 49ers were scheduled to travel over 28,000 miles, the most out of any team in the league this season.

The Niners won both road games they had last year with the stay at The Greenbrier in between, although Week 2 saw a tremendous amount of injuries that would ultimately play into their 6-10 finish.

Hopefully, this year’s road trip will end up being a bit more pleasant.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

China’s Gigantic Multi-Modal AI Is No One-Trick Pony
A. Tarantola | Engadget
“When Open AI’s GPT-3 model made its debut in May of 2020, its performance was widely considered to be the literal state of the art. …But oh what a difference a year makes. Researchers from the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence announced on Tuesday the release of their own generative deep learning model, Wu Dao, a mammoth AI seemingly capable of doing everything GPT-3 can do, and more.”

TRANSPORTATION

United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel
Lauren Hirsch | The New York Times
“…United Airlines said it was ordering 15 jets that can travel faster than the speed of sound from Boom Supersonic, a start-up in Denver. …Boom, which has raised $270 million from venture capital firms and other investors, said it planned to introduce aircraft in 2025 and start flight tests in 2026. It expects the plane, which it calls the Overture, to carry passengers before the end of the decade.”

SPACE

Spacex Signs ‘Blockbuster Deal’ To Send Space Tourists to the ISS
Amanda Kooser | CNET
“On Wednesday, space tourism company Axiom Space announced a ‘blockbuster deal’ with SpaceX that will send private crews to the ISS through 2023. Axiom and SpaceX already had a deal in place for a Dragon spacecraft flight with three private citizens and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría in early 2022. The new agreement expands the scope to a total of four flights.”

TRANSPORTATION

Why Electric Cars Will Take Over Sooner Than You Think
Justin Rowlatt | BBC News
“This isn’t a fad, this isn’t greenwashing. Yes, the fact many governments around the world are setting targets to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles gives impetus to the process. But what makes the end of the internal combustion engine inevitable is a technological revolution. And technological revolutions tend to happen very quickly.”

ETHICS

Have Autonomous Robots Started Killing in War?
James Vincent | The Verge
“…over the past week, a number of publications tentatively declared, based on a UN report from the Libyan civil war, that killer robots may have hunted down humans autonomously for the first time. As one headline put it: ‘The Age of Autonomous Killer Robots May Already Be Here.’ But is it? As you might guess, it’s a hard question to answer.”

ENERGY

Chart: Behind the Three-Decade Collapse of Lithium-Ion Battery Costs
Rahul Rao | IEEE Spectrum
“Between 1991 and 2018, the average price of the batteries that power mobile phones, fuel electric cars, and underpin green energy storage fell more than thirtyfold, according to work by Micah Ziegler Jessika Trancik and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. …Batteries today, the researchers say, have mass-production scales and energy densities unthinkable 30 years ago.”

HEALTH

The UK Has a Plan for a New ‘Pandemic Radar’ System
Maryn McKenna | Wired
i‘What we really need is a broadly distributed, high-fidelity, always-on surveillance system…’ says Samuel V. Scarpino, an assistant professor at

An advert for a nanny with an annual salary of $100,000 (£72,000) has gone viral on social media for its job description and pay packet.

A private staffing firm recently posted the role to Indeed for a family based in San Francisco — but with travel for “approximately ten weeks per year” at a number of residences.

As first reported by The Bold Italic on Monday, the nanny role went viral for the $100,000 annual salary and a list of requirements for potential applicants, including a bachelor’s degree.

The applicants also required at least three years of experience and for the nanny to be “’professional, experienced and educated”.

The nanny, who forms part of a team of three nannies for the unnamed family, would be caring for a toddler and baby across seven days of the week.

Read more:

“Don’t get us wrong, people who watch and teach children for a living deserve that much money (hello, teachers),” the Bold Italic wrote, “but the fact that they are spending upwards of $300,000 (£219,000) on private childcare blew our minds.”

Although the pay for the nanny role is substantial, applicants would also be asked to assist with homework and prepare “fresh and healthy meals,” as well as washing dishes, among other tasks.

A confidentiality agreement is also asked for, and the post has ceased taking applications on Indeed.

“We know caregivers are often underpaid, undervalued and underinsured. But even by San Francisco standards, a nanny care team to watch two kids is a bit over the top,” wrote one social media user of the advert.

It is not the first time a nanny role has attracted online attention for its job description or pay, following an advert for a Silicon Valley-based family last year.

The advert went viral on social media for asking for a bachelor’s degree and a willingness to “to learn about using alternatives to milk and butter,” as SFist reported.

Applicants, who were offered a wage of roughly $40 (£29) an hour, were also required to do “sit-ups, lunges, squats, pushups” with a child aged 10, and plan family vacations on Excel.

Businesswoman and pro-bubble lobbyist Ann Sherry called for quarantine-free travel to be in place by mid-April, at the latest.

Talk of bubbles with Singapore and other Asian nations should be parked until Australians and Kiwis can cross the Tasman without the need to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks at either end, said Ms Sherry, who is co-chair of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum.

“Singapore has become a distraction,” Ms Sherry said.

“A bubble with Singapore may well come to pass, but that is miles behind the conversation we’ve been having with New Zealand. All the work has been done with New Zealand, and that’s where the priority lies. Once that bubble is up and running, we can use the experience to build on that with Asia.

“[Deputy Prime Minister] Michael McCormack has been talking lately about bubbles with Singapore and other Asian nations like Japan and Korea. But we don’t want to get too diverted just yet.”

Ms Sherry and other industry leaders have been in talks with New Zealand on the bubble since mid-2020.

One-way quarantine-free travel from New Zealand was successfully established in October. Since then, more than 24,000 passengers have arrived in Australia.

Australia is New Zealand’s single largest source of tourists each year, with 1.5 million people travelling across the Tasman in 2019. More than 1.4 million New Zealanders returned the favour by visiting Australia.

Ms Ardern’s Deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson, has hinted at two-way travel starting soon.

“We were working towards a joint framework, a joint set of protocols, but actually I don’t think we’re too far off being able to create the New Zealand version to match up with the Australian version,” he said.

“There are still a few ­issues to be ironed out, such as how the countries would handle fresh outbreaks.”

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Australia had finalised its plans.

Air New Zealand added Hobart as its tenth Australian destination on Friday, with plans for a twice-weekly service between Hobart and Auckland once quarantine-free travel is up and running.

Once contracts and regulatory approval are in place, Air New Zealand will fly year-round between Auckland and Hobart on its A320neo fleet with tickets on sale once the trans-Tasman is operational.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) Secretary, Tepaeru Herrmann, speaking at the PACER Plus consultation held at the Muri Beach Club Hotel yesterday. 21022410.

Timeline on travel bubble weeks away
Government says work is ongoing in anticipation of two-way quarantine-free travel with New Zealand, however an announcement with specifics on when that will happen is weeks away.

Last December, New Zealand and the Cook
Islands agreed to open a quarantine-free two-way travel bubble by the end of
March.

With less than five weeks remaining on that
initial timeline, officials from across government are working to put in place
arrangements that will allow seamless travel between both countries

But obstacles remain towards achieving that
goal.

Mass testing for Covid-19, a requirement cited
by Prime Minister Mark Brown, won’t be in place until April, government has
said.

And contact tracing is still under development
with additional functionality to align the system with New Zealand’s currently
being added to the existing CookSafe system.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tepaeru
Herrmann, who also chairs government’s Border Easement Taskforce, said: “The
Cook Islands health readiness is a key determinant of the two-way
quarantine-free travel arrangement.”

“Te Marae Ora is finalising its work on
testing and surveillance, recruitment of essential health workers, as well as
contingency and health response planning. Government will be in a position to
advise on timelines once progress on the health readiness work has materialised
in the next few weeks.”

After a series of delays, a real-time
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory – which will permit rapid testing in
high numbers – is expected to be in operation at Rarotonga Hospital in April.
The contact tracing system is also under development with completion expected
in the coming weeks.

The latest statistics provided by the Cook
Islands Chamber of Commerce, which is overseeing development of the system,
indicate between 100 to 150 CookSafe QR codes are being distributed each week.
Nearly 8000 have been given to residents so far.

Tag-ins have varied greatly, with 5000-8000 QR
scans being made per week. Over 700 scanners have been distributed to local
businesses, however not all are being used as some have been given to tourism
properties that are currently sitting vacant. New scanners are being registered
at a rate of eight to 10 per week.

The Chamber of Commerce is also overseeing
efforts to modify the existing system with Bluetooth functionality, which will
make it compatible with NZ’s Covid Tracer app.

While the existing QR-code based CookSafe
system will serve residents without access to a smartphone, the new system –
which has been dubbed CookSafePLUS – works with a smartphone app.

When downloaded, it will track the movements
of users and can determine if close contact was made with someone that has
tested positive for Covid-19.

Officials stressed the system will protect a
user’s privacy.