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FILE - People wait in line at the St. Clements Food Pantry for food during the coronavirus pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, Dec. 11, 2020. VOA

The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December as it continued to be battered by the worsening coronavirus crisis.

The Labor Department reported Friday the December jobless rate remained unchanged from the previous month at 6.7%, despite labor market weakness.

December was the first time in eight months the economy shed jobs, a reversal from the 336,000 new jobs added in November.

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Friday’s report reflects employers’ need to make deep job cuts in the hospitality and leisure sectors, which were especially hard hit by coronavirus lockdown measures as COVID-19 infections in the U.S. continued to set new daily records, forcing them to close their businesses again.

The report also shows that more workers lost their jobs in 2020 than in any year since 1939 when the government began tracking unemployment.

The pandemic and related containment measures triggered 22 million job cuts in March and April, while only 12 million new jobs have been added since then.

FILE – Restaurant patrons sit inside plastic tents while being served outside of the Lupo Verde restaurant along the 14th Street Corridor amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Washington, Dec. 4, 2020. VOA

Faster hiring of people who were laid off during the pandemic-induced recession that began in February would improve the employment picture. But with record numbers of Americans currently being infected and hospitalized, there is no sign of that happening.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: जाने क्यों याद किया जो बाइडेन ने वनिता गुप्ता नस्लीय कट्टरता के अनुभव को

Winter’s arrival could also discourage spending and job creation, particularly in the restaurant and other sectors that have begun to rely more on business outdoors.

Economists say the economy is unlikely to reenter a recession, due to the government’s passage last week of a second coronavirus relief package valued at nearly $900 billion.

President-elect Joe Biden, who Congress formally certified Thursday as the winner of the November 3 presidential election, hours after mobs supportive of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, promised another round of relief in the form of $2,000 stimulus checks if Democrats won two runoff Senate elections in the state of Georgia on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: NASA Selects Four New Astrophysics Missions To Study The Secrets of The Universe

The Democrats narrowly defeated both Republican opponents, boosting the prospects for Biden’s legislative agenda when he assumes the presidency on January 20. (VOA)



Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO.

Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.

According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)

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Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols.

A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."

Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.

Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)

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The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune.

The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.

Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.

covid virus The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash

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