April 14, 2024

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Gazette Daily News Podcast, November 27-28

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A new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa is leading to a new round of travel restrictions around the world. The risks of the variant, called omicron, are largely unknown but the World Health Organization is calling it a “variant of concern.

The U.S. said Friday it will ban travel from South Africa and seven other African nations by non-U.S. citizens starting Monday. European Union, Canada and other countries have imposed similar restrictions.

Omicron’s actual risks are not understood. But early evidence suggests it carries an increased risk of reinfection compared with other highly transmissible variants, the WHO said. That means people who contracted COVID-19 and recovered could be subject to catching it again. It could take weeks to know if current vaccines are less effective against it.

In addition to southern Africa, the omicron variant has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.

Texas company Navigator CO2 Ventures is proposing a 1,300-mile carbon sequestration pipeline that would pass through 36 Iowa counties, including Linn County.

The company is inviting Eastern Iowa landowners with property on or near the route of the proposed pipeline to public meetings about the project and may approach them later about getting easements. The meetings start Monday and run through early January.

The pipeline would capture carbon dioxide at ethanol and fertilizer plants. The gas would be put under pressure, turned into liquid and piped to a sequestration site in western Illinois.

There, the liquid carbon would be injected into rock formations, where it would calcify and be permanently stored. The idea would keep carbon dioxide out of the air, where it contributes to global warming.

The goal of Navigator’s proposed $3 billion project is to sequester up to 15 million metric tons of CO2.

Sometime next year, Iowans will have the option of keeping their state-issued driver’s license on their smartphones and not just their wallets.

Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s motor vehicle division Melissa Gillett says state officials have launched a pilot project aimed at making digital driver’s licenses, or “mobile ID,” available for download via Apple and Android smartphone apps sometime in 2022.

Gillett said following the pilot project, which will involve DOT employees testing and providing feedback, the department expects an app to be available to all Iowans around the summer of 2022.

The proposed mobile driver’s license will be optional for those who prefer the digital convenience, but all Iowans still will be expected to carry hard-copy licenses even if their electronic devices are equipped with the digital version of Iowa’s common form of state identification, Gillett said.

No. 16 Iowa scored 22 unanswered points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, to beat Nebraska 28-21 and win the Heroes Trophy for the seventh straight year.

The victory also keeps the Hawkeyes alive for a spot in the Big Ten West championship game. They need Minnesota to beat Wisconsin on Saturday for that.

The Hawkeyes improved to 10-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten. The Huskers finish the season 3-9, 1-8. All nine losses were by single digits, eight by one score.

According to the National Weather Service’s Quad Cities’ bureau: On Saturday, there’s a chance of sprinkles and flurries before 10 a.m., then a chance of sprinkles between 10 a.m. and noon. It will be mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 49. There will be some wind, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 26 and wind gusts as high as 25 mph.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 41 and gusts as high as 20 mph. Sunday Night will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.

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