From Virginia to Glasgow to London, national news this week

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe gestures as he speaks at an election night party in McLean, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

This week, the Republican Party won a contested governor’s race, the United Nations Climate Change Conference enters its second week and American borders open up for vaccinated travelers. 

GOP wins Virginia Governor’s Race 

Early on Nov. 3, Democrat Terry McAuliffe conceded the Virginia gubernatorial election to Republican Glenn Youngkin, in a closely observed race that was the center of the 2021 elections, according to National Public Radio. 

“In the last weeks of the campaign, the race was neck and neck between the two candidates who crisscrossed the state pleading with voters to cast a ballot in this off-year election that generally yields much lower turnout than presidential election years,” NPR reported. 

Although Republicans have not won the governor’s seat since 2009, Youngkin won with a focus on reopening schools in person and distancing himself from former president Donald Trump. 

Political strategists have noted Youngkin’s success and theorize the critical 2022 midterms could see campaigns similar to his. 

“Rich Meagher, an associate professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College, said national Republicans would likely use Youngkin’s campaign as a template in next year’s elections given the enthusiasm it generated,” NPR said. 

Climate Conference Continues 

According to The Associated Press (AP), The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) is entering its second week as representatives from across the world agree toward steps to mitigate the effects of climate change and help achieve UN climate change goals. Leading countries have agreed to halt deforestation, invest in green energy and work toward allowing global temperature to only rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.

Perito Moreno Glacier stands in Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate, Argentina, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. World leaders are gathered in Scotland at a United Nations climate summit, known as COP26, to push nations to ratchet up their efforts to curb climate change. Experts say the amount of energy unleashed by planetary warming could melt much of the planet’s ice, raise global sea levels and increase extreme weather events. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

“One way to achieve that would be to encourage rich polluters in particular to update their emissions-cutting targets every one or two years, rather than every five years as now required by the Paris accord,” Associated Press said. 

AP reports some countries have shown resistance to previous aspects of climate change mitigation. 

“China in particular has bristled at the idea of having to provide data in formats set by other nations. Brazil and Russia, meanwhile, have resisted demands to lay out in greater detail the short-term measures they’re taking to meet their long-term goals,” AP reported. 

Corporate leaders from the United Kingdom, including CEO of GlaxoSmithKline Emma Walmsley and Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, spoke at the conference on Nov. 8, pledging to reverse the damage done to the world by their operations within the next decade, according to a British government press release and the AP. 

“So it can’t be immediate because it is hard, but it does have to start now,” Liv Garfield, the executive of a British water company told CNBC Monday. 

US Borders Reopen 

Dual U.S.-Canadian citizen Traysi Spring, right, and her American husband Tom Bakken, hold a homemade sign to welcome people heading into the U.S. from Canada Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Blaine, Wash. The U.S. reopened its land borders to nonessential travel Monday after almost 20 months of COVID-19 restrictions. Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

On Nov. 8, the United States removed several travel restrictions from Canada, Mexico, and several European countries, which were implemented during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Broadcasting Company. 

“To mark the occasion British Airways and Virgin Atlantic had two flights take off simultaneously for the first time from London’s Heathrow to New York’s JFK on Monday morning,” NBC reported. 

Along with boosting airline industries, countless families and couples were separated by the pandemic. 

NPR interviewed River Robinson, a Canadian woman separated from her boyfriend in America. She is eager to see her partner after their child was born at the start of COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide. 

“If all goes smoothly at the border I’ll plan on taking him down as much as I can. [It] is crazy to think he has a whole other side of the family he hasn’t even met yet,” Robinson told NPR. 

The Center for Disease Control has stated the U.S. will accept fully vaccinated travelers, whether they are considered essential or non-essential travel. 

“For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include those FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines,” as stated on the CDC website. 

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