WORLD VIEW FROM REUTERS: Biden Offers Free Home COVID Tests, Omicron Hitting Vaxed People, EU in New Curbs, More

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Today’s biggest stories

People queue to be tested for COVID-19 in Times Square, New York City, U.S., December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

U.S.
  • The Biden administration will open federal COVID-19 testing sites in New York City this week and buy 500 million at-home rapid tests that Americans can order online for free starting in January as it tries to tackle the Omicron variant sweeping the country.
  • Texas’ Harris County reported its first death related to the Omicron COVID-19 vaa man who was unvaccinated, the county health department said.
  • The National Hockey League and its players’ body have agreed to begin their holiday break after Tuesday’s matches, they said in a joint statement. The regular season schedule is set to resume on Dec. 27.
  • The Pentagon stopped short of creating a list of extremist groups that military members cannot join and declined to say explicitly whether refusing to view President Joe Biden as America’s legitimate leader was a violation of policy.
  • A Washington state man who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer during the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol received a sentence of almost four years in prison, one of the longest yet for a Jan. 6 defendant.
  • Jurors retired for the evening after starting deliberations in the manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who mistook her handgun for her Taser and shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop.

The World Health Organization logo is pictured at the entrance of the WHO building, in Geneva, Switzerland, December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

World

A trader in a face mask works on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, New York City, U.S., December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Business
  • World shares gained as investors weighed up the extent to which the Omicron coronavirus variant would hit economies around the world, with the dollar softening as appetite for riskier assets made a cautious return.
  • Turkey’s lira rocketed back from record lows in volatile trading after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan proposed measures to protect local currency savings against such swings.
  • Qatar plans to invest at least $10 billion in U.S. ports and has approached international banks for financing help, sources say, in an infrastructure spree that reflects the Gulf country’s deepening ties with Washington.
  • Black and Hispanic tech startup funding ticked up in Florida and Georgia this year, following an influx of investors fleeing California and efforts by some venture capitalists to focus on minority founders in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
  • Having long shunned property ownership, rock-bottom borrowing costs, rising rents and for some the impact of having to pay to keep their money in the bank have persuaded almost one in two Germans to buy a house or apartment. The property rush is seeing high-rise buildings spring up across Frankfurt, a building frenzy replicated across Germany, where prices have hit record highs.
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