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Smaller Thanksgiving Gatherings Disrupt US Turkey Market

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Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States—a day when millions of families get together, share turkey meals and revel. And it is a day of the famous Macy’s parade. But it’s a smaller occasion this year as COVID-19 has put a damper on large celebrations.

The turkey industry in the country is seeing both a shortage of smaller turkeys and a surplus of the bigger ones as more Americans plan to hold smaller gatherings for Thanksgiving as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Americans heed the advice of health authorities to hold smaller gatherings, they have had to downsize their turkeys from the usual thirty-pound birds.

A recent survey conducted by the American turkey and poultry company, butterball, found that three out of four of its respondents are opting for simpler, smaller dinners this year, which is in line with recommendations from the centers for disease control and prevention.

But that creates a problem for America’s turkey industry where at least forty million turkeys are usually consumed every Thanksgiving. The national turkey federation says most of the frozen turkeys one would find in the supermarkets now had gone into the field before the pandemic hit.  Now, there is a huge backlog, especially of the big size birds that people are not buying because of reduction in crowd sizes.

Nonetheless, Americans say they will make the best of this thanksgiving day and pray that next year would be coronavirus-free. Then, life can return to normal.

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Iraq: At least 32 Dead As Twin Suicide Bombings Hit Central Baghdad

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At least 32 persons have been killed and 110 wounded on Thursday after twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Iraqi officials said one of the two perpetrators lured a crowd of people towards him in a market in the central Tayaran Square by feigning illness, only to detonate his explosives.

Ministry of Defence Spokesperson Yahya Rasool told Al Jazeera a second bomber struck as people helped victims of the first attack.

The attack is the first twin bombing in Baghdad since January 2018, when 35 people were killed and 90 injured in the same square that was targeted on Thursday.

Iraq’s health minister Hassan Mohammed Al-Tamimi said at least 32 people were killed and 110 others were wounded in the attack. He said some of the wounded were in serious condition. Iraq’s military previously put the number of dead at 28.

Videos from Thursday’s attack show scenes of chaos, with people running for cover and bodies strewn across pavements and the road.

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Biden, Harris’ First Actions After Inauguration

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Joseph Biden, junior, now the forty-sixth president of the United States after being sworn-in on Wednesday, has promised to move the country forward in the path of unity.

In his inaugural address, number 46 said “democracy has prevailed.”  As he addressed the sober, no surprises inaugural event, Biden called on Americans to put aside the bitter divisions that have deepened over the past four years.

On his first day as president, Biden signed seventeen executive orders dismantling trump-era policies.  The action sweeps aside Trump’s pandemic response, reversed his environmental agenda, and tore down his anti-immigration policies.

Biden placed his hand on a five-inch thick Bible that has been in his family for one hundred twenty-eight years as he took the 35-word oath of office that was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Vice-president Kamala Harris also jumped into action within an hour of being sworn-in. She returned to Capitol Hill to administer the oath of office to newly elected democratic senators including the two from Georgian.

Harris has made history as the first woman, the first African American, and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice-president.  She is now the highest-ranking woman in U.S. history.

 

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UN Chief Welcomes US Re-Entry Into Paris Agreement

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In that rash of executive orders, the United States has rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.  And the United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres wasted no time welcoming the U.S. back into the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  Former president Donald Trump had withdrawn the country from the global pact last November.

Guterres warned in his statement there is still a very long way to go as the climate crisis continues to worsen with time running out to limit temperature rises to no more than one and a half degrees celsius, and to build more climate-resilient societies.

Executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, also expressed on twitter, a warm welcome back for the U.S. re-entry into the agreement.

Just about every country in the world had agreed to the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 after lengthy negotiations.  The agreement aims to tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and sets a worldwide target of limiting the rise in average global temperatures no higher than two degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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