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The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for parts of Greater Sydney

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The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for parts of Greater Sydney

It’s no news that the weather is dire right now, but people in the Greater Sydney area are urged to brace themselves for particularly severe weather in the next 24 hours. There are currently 23 separate alerts in place across the state, with severe thunderstorms forecast just north of Sydney on the Central Coast, as far north as Newcastle and as far south as the Northern Beaches.

The worst stormy skies should miss Metropolitan Sydney, but damaging winds and heavy rains are still forecast for neighboring regions, including the Hunter, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury areas. The Executive Board warns against driving because of the risk of sudden flooding. A powerful The Pacific La Niña event has been formally confirmed by the BoM, which has soaked huge swaths of Australia’s east coast to date, making this one of the wettest November on record.

So why is the weather so bad now? We’ve taken a deep dive into the once-a-decade weather event that summer is likely to wash away.

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The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook

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The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook

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President Joe Biden speaks to media as he arrives on Air Force one at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

President Joe Biden speaks to media as he arrives on Air Force one at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday, and Happy Hanukkah! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of today: 776,639.

As of this morning, 69.7 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 59.1 percent is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker. A little more than 11 percent of the U.S. eligible population has received a booster dose.

Just when the world hoped COVID-19 might one day be beatable, or at least a controllable risk in people’s daily lives, a new variant of the coronavirus set off alarms, triggering unanswered scientific questions but instantaneous emergency international responses and panic in financial markets on Friday.

Today, the United States joins other nations in restricting visitors from eight African countries because of the potential risks of the omicron variant of COVID-19. The variant has been detected in at least a dozen countries, including South Africa (where less than a quarter of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19), Canada (first confirmation in North America), Israel, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Australia and the United Kingdom, where a mask mandate is back in place.

President Biden will speak about the situation today from the White House. The United Kingdom plans a meeting today of health ministers from the seven largest industrialized nations to discuss responses.

Researchers insist omicron is not “apocalyptic,” and there is no early evidence that it causes more severe disease or higher risks of death than previous variants, including delta. It is unclear how quickly omicron spreads; anecdotal information from South Africa suggests it is efficient at moving from human to human.

CNBC: Moderna says a vaccine with targeted effectiveness against omicron could be ready next year. It is not clear such a vaccine will be needed.

The Associated Press: Here is what scientists know so far about the new variant.

Scientists, including Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, predict it will take about two weeks to gain a better understanding of omicron’s capabilities, and in the meantime, he and other administration officials urge Americans to get first, second or third doses of COVID-19 vaccines (The Hill).

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News over the weekend that he “would not be surprised” if the variant is already in this country.

“We have not detected it yet,” Fauci said on Saturday. “But when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you’re already having travel-related cases that they’ve noted in Israel and Belgium and other places, … it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over” (The Hill).

CBS News: “It’s almost definitely here already,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday.

Biden on Saturday urged all Americans ages 5 and up to get vaccinated and, if eligible, obtain booster doses as soon as possible. “That is the minimum that everyone should be doing. And I – you know, we always talk about whether this is about freedom, but I think it’s a patriotic responsibility to do that.”

Fauci joined administration officials in the Oval Office on Sunday to brief the president, all speaking through masks to tell Biden that experts believe existing vaccines are likely to continue to provide some protection against severe cases of COVID-19 infection as omicron spreads, the White House said in a statement. Fauci repeated the scientific community’s view that boosters for fully vaccinated individuals “provide the strongest available protection” against the coronavirus by replenishing waning immune responses.

The World Health Organization (WHO) protested nations that implemented travel restrictions at borders because of omicron (The Associated Press) and instead called for more vaccinations, increased surveillance of the variant and laboratory experiments to better understand its biology. Scientists have already developed a standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) nasal swab test that identifies the newest version of the coronavirus (The Associated Press and The New York Times).

A person queues to be tested for COVID-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa

A person queues to be tested for COVID-19 in Johannesburg, South Africa

The U.S. travel rules in place today apply to individuals originating from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. They do not apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents.

The Hill: Fauci defends new U.S. travel restrictions.

Reuters: Japan, Israel shut borders to foreigners because of omicron.

WHO officials were first alerted by South Africa on Wednesday about the new variant, which scientists are studying with urgency because of its abundant mutations affecting the virus’s spike protein, its potent transmissibility and possible adaptations to evade COVID-19 vaccines (The New York Times).

The Associated Press: In Switzerland, legislation already in force to require special COVID-19 certificates, under which only people who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative can attend public events and gatherings, won majority voter support in a Sunday referendum.

Bloomberg News: Financial markets face weeks of uncertainty while waiting for scientific appraisals of omicron. Currency markets stabilized as of Sunday (Bloomberg News).

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts his glasses during a Senate hearing

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts his glasses during a Senate hearing

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LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: Lawmakers return to Washington today and Tuesday staring down a critical pre-Christmas to-do list. Priorities include increasing the nation’s borrowing authority by mid-December to pay for U.S. commitments already approved by Congress; averting a shutdown by funding the government; and resolving the fate of the Democrats’ Build Back Better agenda through the Senate.

Although Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) renewed debt-ceiling discussions shortly before the Thanksgiving break, the two leaders do not appear to be close to a deal. As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, both leaders face tough issues within their own ranks, with McConnell’s being more troublesome.

Republicans say there will be no repeat of the Band-Aid from October, when McConnell lined up 11 Republicans to pass a temporary debt limit extension. The party’s stance against raising the borrowing limit has intensified, forcing Democrats to weigh whether they could resolve the problem without GOP votes through a massive and still-unresolved budget reconciliation measure.

Democrats, however, maintain that Schumer will not burn up a week of Senate floor time to try to raise the debt ceiling relying only on the majority. Some Republicans have suggested Democrats use reconciliation, with Republicans lending a hand only to expedite the process, to be completed on a partisan basis on the floor.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says available funds to meet U.S. obligations will run out by Dec. 15, leaving Democrats with a big problem and no easy answers.

The Washington Post: Congress returns to work staring down fiscal deadlines and unresolved fights over Biden’s agenda.

The Hill: Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump’s border wall.

Sunlight shines on the U.S. Senate wing of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill

Sunlight shines on the U.S. Senate wing of the Capitol building on Capitol Hill

Meanwhile, the future of the Build Back Better agenda is officially in the Senate’s hands, and all eyes remain on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as Biden’s top domestic priority hangs in the balance.

As The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda writes, the need to win Manchin’s support means a couple of items included in the House version could be on the chopping block, including four weeks of paid family leave, which Manchin has signaled opposition to. A number of climate provisions could also be on the outs to bring the West Virginia centrist into the fold.

One other thing to watch is how Manchin affects when the package is brought to the floor. The West Virginia senator recently said that he’s undecided on whether he’ll help start debate on it. Any vote is unlikely to occur without Manchin’s backing.

Jordain Carney, The Hill: Five ways Senate could change Biden’s spending plan.

The Hill: With Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps.

The Wall Street Journal: Democrats tackle changes to $2 trillion spending plan as deadlines loom.

The Hill: The administration is resisting calls for tougher Russia sanctions in Congress.

The Hill: Former Rep. Carrie Meek (D-Fla.) died at age 95.

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: The attention of the political universe is shifting more and more toward the 2022 midterms with just over 11 months before Republicans get their chance to retake the majority in both congressional chambers.

The Hill’s Niall Stanage lays out the key issues that will set the scene for the midterm battles, with the ongoing troubles surrounding COVID-19 and inflation leading the way.

While case totals are nowhere near their peak figures in January, the unpredictability of the virus will remain an issue for the foreseeable future, as the omicron variant has already shown only days after its discovery. However, if the U.S. shows signs that the nation is moving past the pandemic by the spring, Biden and Democrats could be big-time political benefactors.

On the other side of the coin are Biden’s ongoing troubles with inflation, which have helped drag down his approval ratings in recent months. ​​According to a CBS News-YouGov poll released last Sunday, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of his handling of inflation, with 82 percent reporting that items they usually buy are more expensive.

However, Biden’s resources to corral rising costs are limited. The White House is unable to adjust interest rates as that authority resides with the Federal Reserve, with top officials maintaining that the issue is a temporary result of supply chain problems coupled with pandemic related troubles and not due to Democratic spending, the main GOP line of attack.

Politico: Former President Trump’s Senate picks stumble out of the gate.

Dan Balz, The Washington Post: Biden’s challenge, gamble and wish set the table for the 2022 elections.

The Associated Press: Food, gas prices pinch families as inflation surges globally.

If Republicans do take back the House next year, lawmakers are eyeing retribution against their Democratic counterparts and stripping some notable members of their committee assignments.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wants an eye for an eye after Democrats booted Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) of committee seats, warning that some liberal lawmakers “will need the approval of a majority to keep those positions in the future.”

As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos notes, none of the Democrats McCarthy has singled out have embraced conspiracy theories or promoted violence against their political opponents the way Greene and Gosar have. Among those Republicans are looking at are Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

Hanna Trudo, The Hill: Restless progressives eye 2024.

The Hollywood Reporter: Matthew McConaughey says he is not pursuing a run for Texas governor.

The New York Times: Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper claims Department of Defense is improperly blocking parts of his memoir.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: [email protected] and [email protected] We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!

OPINION

The rule of six: A newly radicalized Supreme Court is poised to reshape the nation, by Ruth Marcus, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3I3CSe7

Omicron: Keep calm and carry on vaccinating, by Therese Raphael, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3lgYFVT

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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and resumes consideration of the motion to consider the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022.

The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden and Harris at 10:45 a.m. will receive a briefing from advisers about the omicron COVID-19 variant before the president delivers remarks on that subject at 11:45 a.m. The president will meet at 2 p.m. with corporate CEOs to discuss the holiday shopping season. He will speak at 3:45 p.m. about administration efforts to improve the nation’s supply chains.

First lady Jill Biden today will unveil the “gifts from the heart” theme selected for the 2021 Christmas and Hanukkah decorations at the White House accompanied by invited guests and offering thank-yous to the more than 100 volunteers who helped decorate the people’s house for the season. The Oval Office Christmas tree, one of 41 this year, sports navy blue and gold ornaments (which just happen to be University of Delaware school colors), including some golden starfish.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m.

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.

ELSEWHERE

INTERNATIONAL: Russia‘s ambassador to the United States said on Sunday that 27 more Russian diplomats and their families were expelled from the United States and would leave on Jan. 30 (Reuters). … Nuclear talks with Iran resume today in Vienna. The last round of difficult discussions in June sought to bring Tehran back into compliance with the international agreement concluded six years ago (The Associated Press). … An early-winter snowstorm in Yorkshire, England, killed at least three people, downed power lines and left people stranded for days in locations, including one pub, blocked by three feet of snow (The New York Times).

STATE WATCH: Too many dead trees in wildfire-ravaged California leave behind damaged forests, experts say (San Francisco Chronicle). … States spent record amounts in a pandemic year (The Hill).

SUPREME COURT: On Wednesday, justices will hear arguments in a landmark abortion case (The Hill). … Ketanji Brown Jackson, seen by Democrats as a top contender for a future Supreme Court vacancy, is one of three judges assigned the weighty task of reviewing Trump’s bid to block a congressional subpoena for records related to the Jan. 6 attack (The Hill).

LOBBYING: The recently enacted $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment law, which will benefit states and localities nationwide, has spawned plenty of lobbying (The Hill). … Climate activists are pressuring the administration after rejecting their push to replace Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell (The Hill).

THE CLOSER

And finally … Trees that are as old as the pyramids? That’s what scientists are examining in the rocky slopes of California’s White Mountains.

Researchers are studying ancient bristlecone trees by taking core samples from their trunks to date the tree rings. In fact, the oldest known bristlecone tree is estimated to be 4,800 years old, and experts readily acknowledge that there are almost certainly older trees out there.

“It would be naïve to think that we just happened to get the oldest tree when we looked,” said Andy Bunn, a researcher.

The largest bristlecone, known as the “Patriarch Tree,” is only 1,500 years old (approximately) (CBS News).

The gnarled bristlecone pines that have taken root high atop the remote, rocky slopes of California's White Mountains are the longest-lived individual trees on the planet

The gnarled bristlecone pines that have taken root high atop the remote, rocky slopes of California’s White Mountains are the longest-lived individual trees on the planet

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Cyber ​​Monday Amazon shark sale – get up to £170 off Mrs Hinch’s beloved vacuum cleaner

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mrs-hinch-hoover-new






Katherine Robinson



As fans of Mrs Hinch – aka Sophie Hinchliffe – you know, there’s no one better to go to cleaning hacks and tricks to keep your home spotless.

RELATED: 19 of Ms. Hinch’s Top Products for the Ultimate Deep Cleanse

And of course, when it comes to the essential items you need for the clean house of your dreams – she knows the best tools and equipment to invest in. Members of the Hinch Army will be happy to know, as will anyone who just wants to take the stress out of cleaning, that there’s a lot on her beloved Shark vacuum cleaners now. Amazon in front of Cyber ​​Monday.

shark-hoover-2z

Shark Lift-Away upright vacuum cleaner, was £349.99 now £179.99, Amazon

SHOP NOW

If you’re planning a major deep clean and house refurbishment before Christmas, one of these mean-spirited machines is a must! We’ve picked the best Amazon Cyber ​​​​Monday deals here or you can buy the entire sale at the link below.

SHOP THE CYBER MONDAY SHARK SALE ON AMAZON

The online shopping giant is selling selected models from its range for a limited time up to 49% off the retail price. Don’t wait too long to get your hands on one, the deals end at midnight on Monday, November 29th and are only available while supplies last.

Great for carpets and hard floors, at the touch of a button this powerful upright model turns into a lightweight portable vacuum cleaner, ideal for cleaning stairs and upholstery in total comfort. You can also use the wall to easily reach curtains, ceilings and light fixtures.

MORE: 14 Incredible Ms Hinch Homewares You Can Buy on Amazon

shark-orange

Shark cordless stick vacuum, was £349.99 now £173.40, Amazon

SHOP NOW

Amazon also sells the Shark vacuum cleaner with LED lighting, which is designed to illuminate hidden dust and accumulations of pet hair in dark areas and under furniture.

shark-red-new

Shark Lift-Away upright vacuum cleaner, was £249.99 now £159, Amazon

SHOP NOW

If you’ve got a little extra to invest, you can get the wireless version, which is also massively discounted in the Amazon sale – £160 off is a great savings!

MORE: Ebay’s Cyber ​​​​Monday deals include £100 off a Nintendo Switch and a great value Dyson hair dryer

RELATED: 10 Amazon Deals People Went WILD Over on Black Friday — You Can Still Shop

shark amazon

Shark Lift-Away upright vacuum cleaner, was £249.99 now £159, Amazon

SHOP NOW

shark-one-battery

Shark cordless upright vacuum cleaner, was £399.99 now £219.99, Amazon

SHOP NOW

RELATED: Ms. Hinch Loves Her SonicScrubber — But What’s So Good About It? we investigate

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VIDEO: Ms. Hinch Reveals Her Latest Cleaning Maintenance Purchase

HELLO!’s selection is editorially and independently chosen – we only show items that our editors like and approve. HEY! may collect a portion of the sale or other fee through the links on this page. For more information, visit our FAQ page.

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As costs rise, Bay Area restaurants weigh in on an unpopular move: Raising menu prices

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As costs rise, Bay Area restaurants weigh in on an unpopular move: Raising menu prices

Your favorite sandwich might cost $1 more than it did a few weeks ago. The crab pasta you loved eating at Fisherman’s Wharf may now share space with shrimp. And the cookies you bought in a local pop-up may appear smaller on your next visit.

Bay Area restaurants face rising costs of seemingly everything, they say, from meat and eggs to flour and takeout containers. As a result, owners make difficult decisions to compensate. Some raise menu prices, others adjust portion sizes or cut dishes altogether.

The cost increases for many ingredients are dramatic, in some cases three times what they were a few months ago. They are among the myriad ripple effects caused by supply chain pandemic issues and the nationwide workforce crisis.

In the case of Bluestem Restaurant & Market, the San Francisco restaurant paid $20 for 15 dozen eggs in 2020 and is now paying $68 — a 240% increase, though it’s unclear exactly why. According to the latest consumer price index According to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for all consumer goods in the US increased by 6.2% from October 2020 to October 2021 in the US, and by about 12% for eggs.

Mica Talmor, owner of Pomella, works in the kitchen of the popular Israeli restaurant in Oakland.

Mica Talmor, owner of Pomella, works in the kitchen of the popular Israeli restaurant in Oakland.

Yalonda M. James/The Chronicle

“Jumps like this, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mica Talmor, owner of the Israeli restaurant Pomella in Oakland. “I don’t think we can survive without raising prices.”

So far, Pomella has gradually increased the prices of a few items, but plans to increase many items by at least 5%. Talmor, for example, has noticed that the cost of organic beans has doubled, while the price of its imported tahini has also risen because it is one of the commodities held in ports. That suddenly makes hummus, a staple of her restaurant typically considered simple and affordable, quite expensive to produce.

Pomella has seen prices rise dramatically for items such as compostable containers.

Pomella has seen prices rise dramatically for items such as compostable containers.

Yalonda M. James/The Chronicle

Talmor is also looking to raise the prices of all takeout orders to offset the rising cost of compostable packaging. She’s still figuring out how to implement the logistics, but she expects to charge an extra 50 cents per takeout item.

“It’s been hard — raising prices isn’t as easy as you think,” she said. “You don’t want to upset your customers, and already customers see us as expensive.”

Dinosaurs, a San Francisco mini-chain that serves Vietnamese sandwiches, issued a letter to customers this fall explaining why prices rose by 15% to 20%. The special banh mi filled with three kinds of pork jumped from $8.50 to $10.75.

A sign outside Dinosaurs in San Francisco listed examples of rising ingredient costs.

A sign outside Dinosaurs in San Francisco listed examples of rising ingredient costs.

Soleil Ho / The Chronicle

The restaurant outlined several examples that fueled the decision: 50-pound bags of sugar went from $48.50 to $60, boxes of rice noodles went from $68 to $76, and boxes of biodegradable cups went from $86.50 to $135. .According to the latter consumer price index US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, prices for all consumer goods in the US are up 6.2% in the US from October 2020 to October 2021

Rachel Caygill, owner of Greenhouse Bakery, a home-based business in Oakland, usually doesn’t look at her bills until the end of the month, so she was shocked to see the number growing so quickly. The cost of flour increased by 30% and butter by 10% – two key ingredients for a bakery. She thought about raising prices by 50 cents across the board, but didn’t want to seem too expensive.

“It’s hard to pay more than $3 for a cookie,” she said.

Instead, she bakes slightly smaller cookies to keep them at $3 and sticks on $1 worth of specialty pastries, like a seasonal croissant filled with butternut squash, leeks, and Gruyere cheese.

Simco Restaurants, which operates several waterfront restaurants in San Francsico, such as Fog Harbor Fish House, used to sell many lobster rolls. But the shellfish price hike drove the restaurants to stop serving it altogether, Chief Operating Officer Bob Patrite said. Crab is also getting more expensive, so the popular crab fettucini is now a crab and shrimp fettucini, keeping the price at $29.

“We’re not going to keep increasing the prices of dishes, so there will come a time when we say the price we have to charge is wrong,” he said. “Then we either remove the dish or start redesigning the dishes.”

Patrite said he has especially seen prices rise for anything that needs to be shipped, such as oil or seafood on the East Coast. But even local ingredients are more expensive, such as the flour that Caygill buys or the products at Pomella.

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