Beyond that, the U.S. aims to build on a call between Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Abbas last week — the first leader-to-leader chat in five years — by fostering closer people-to-people ties. Biden will tell the Palestinian leader that Israel wants to reconvene the Joint Economic Committee, which hasn’t met since 2009, to discuss a slew of issues that affect Palestinians every day, and in addition increase the number of work permits to residents of Gaza. The U.S. will also send over $7 million in grant money to programs that promote Israeli-Palestinian collaboration and exchanges.

‘Good employers are recognising people are continuing to work from home while they have COVID. and receiving payments through that.

‘The (pandemic leave) payments were put in place by the former government with an end date, a decision they made at the time.’

Ahead of the national cabinet meeting, the prime minister said he was confident of leaders being able to work together constructively.

‘Everyone has been worried. about the pandemic over the last couple of years,’ he said.

‘We’ll deal with these issues. We’ll deal with them in a practical way.’

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff have called for the payments to be extended through the current wave of COVID-19 cases.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has pushed for pandemic leave payments to be extended- as has Queensland's Annastacia Palaszczuk

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NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has pushed for pandemic leave payments to be extended- as has Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Federal Labor MP Mike Freelander broke ranks on Thursday, urging the prime minister to extend the support measures, with fellow backbencher Michelle Ananda-Rajah following suit.

Health Minister Mark Butler said the government was closely monitoring the situation, but indicated large payouts needed to end following the withdrawal of mandates surrounding the pandemic.

‘There’s no end to the list of worthy, important things we could be spending the money on in the health portfolio, but there is an end to the money,’ he said.

‘The Australian community understan.ds, and indeed wants, the country to move to a new phase in confronting this pandemic.’

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Ben and Jerry’s, according to Tory leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch, epitomises the tendency to put social justice before productivity and profits, one cause of our “economic, social, cultural and intellectual malaise”.  But that wasn’t enough to save Wavy Gravy. The Woodstock entertainer inspired one of the company’s early cult favourites, a caramel, cashew and brazil nut ice cream with a chocolate hazelnut fudge swirl and roasted almonds. Not long after the Vermont-based business sold out to Big Freezer in the form of conglomerate Unilever, Wavy was cut loose, along with the royalties that helped fund the clown’s Camp Winnarainbow for disadvantaged children. The flavour, according to Ice Cream Social, a history of the company, had always been a nightmare to make with expensive ingredients. Still, the marketing juggernaut of the north-east briefly resurrected Wavy in a 2005 contest. It remains in the company’s Flavor Graveyard online, with a suitably corny poem on its tombstone. The unsentimental fact is that the forces of global capitalism sent this hippie icon packing for no other reason than not enough people were buying it and it cost too much to make. It wasn’t entirely clear from Badenoch’s speech what share of the blame Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield bear for a 15-year stagnation in UK growth and living standards, exacerbated in recent years by a sense of total political and policy dysfunction. By most measures, the American duo are the kind of outrageous business success worth celebrating, the type that starts with a $5 correspondence course in 1978 and ends up as one of only 13 Unilever brands with more than €1bn in global sales. The offbeat flavours, quirky names, bright packaging and campaigning ethos are, to some extent, all part of the marketing schtick. Branding, said Bernstein’s Bruno Monteyne, is a “tax on our emotions” (which may explain why this crop of Conservative tax-slashers aren’t so keen). Perhaps this also explains why a tub sets you back the best part of a fiver in the UK. In a consumer goods world battling customer apathy with established brands, Ben and Jerry’s grew 9 per cent last year. Perhaps people like ice cream with a conscience and are prepared to pay for a warm feeling with their cold treat? Maybe they just like the taste, and are ignoring the rest of it? Unilever probably doesn’t care. None of which is to say the company is putting it on. Authenticity is the foundation of great marketing, in ice cream and politics. The fundamentals are there: Ben and Jerry’s gives 7.5 per cent of pre-tax profits to charity and a fair deal to its farmers. Its campaigning tendencies are long-established: its environmental tub One Sweet Whirled launched in 2002, a couple of decades before the UK’s net zero commitment that Badenoch wants to ditch. Its fans have prompted innovation, petitioning for plant-based products in 2014, a market that every food company in the known universe is now trying to crack. For those annoyed that all this translates into business success, the free market solution is to set up a rival — which has been tried. Star-Spangled Ice Cream produced Gun Nut, Small GovernMint and Iraqi Road in the 2000s, donating a share of proceeds to US armed forces charities. It cost $76 for four quarts. Oddly, flavours like I Hate the French Vanilla didn’t go global. Ben and Jerry’s has managed to mix good ice cream with folksy fun, campaigning controversy and the cold realities of capitalism. Independence from Unilever is something of a convenient fiction for both sides — exposed by the almighty bust-up over the company’s decision to halt sales in the occupied Palestine territories and the ensuing lawsuit over Unilever’s move to sell the brand to a local licensee. But the forces for profit certainly aren’t neutralised by a social conscience, as Badenoch fears. Conservative hopefuls and ice cream makers share more than she thinks. Both are trying to capture the attention of people that might like them, without irredeemably alienating too many others. Ben and Jerry’s, however, has combined that with good branding, solid underlying policies and a genuinely appealing product. It will never catch on.

While the government said the end date of June 30 was decided by the coalition when they were in office, the opposition has accused Labor of hypocrisy for not choosing to extend the payments.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the government needed to be consistent with its advice.

‘They need to hold themselves to the same type of standard they held the previous government to and be transparent with what the medical advice is,’ Senator Birmingham told Sky News on Friday.

Opposition health spokeswoman Anne Ruston said clarity was needed on why the pandemic leave measures were not extended.

‘I would like the government to advise Australians of … why they thought it was a good idea now to remove these particular supports at the same time they’re telling Australians we’re about to be hit by another very serious wave of the virus,’ she told ABC radio.

While this all falls short of, say, reopening a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem that Trump closed, the moves are the Biden team’s attempt at showing initial good faith. “There was really no connection whatsoever, no discussions with the Palestinians when the new administration team took over, a senior administration official told reporters on a briefing call about the initiatives. “We have worked to re-establish a lot of those connections.”

The question is if the offerings could lead to renewed peace talks.

Some analysts are skeptical and suggest that the announcements and visits are empty gestures. “The administration has made clear they are deprioritizing the Palestinian issue. The meeting with Abbas is a courtesy call, nothing more,” said Khaled Elgindy, director of the program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli affairs at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. “I don’t see peace talks on the horizon, but I could be wrong.”

Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pulled the plug on Thursday on negotiations to salvage key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, informing his party’s leaders that he would not support funding for climate or energy programs or raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.

The decision by Mr. Manchin, a conservative-leaning Democrat whose opposition has effectively stalled Mr. Biden’s economic package in the evenly divided Senate, dealt a devastating blow to his party’s efforts to enact a broad social safety net, climate and tax package.

In recent months, Democrats had slashed their ambitions for such a plan to win over Mr. Manchin, hoping that he would agree to support even a fraction of the sweeping initiative they once envisioned. His abrupt shift appeared to dash those aspirations.

In a meeting on Thursday with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, Mr. Manchin said he would support a package that would include a negotiated plan aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and an extension of expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies set to lapse at the end of the year.

The shift capped off weeks of painstaking negotiations to cobble together a package that could win Mr. Manchin’s support. It came seven months after the West Virginian abruptly walked away from talks and rejected a far larger plan.

Because Democrats hold the Senate by a bare 50-50 majority, Mr. Manchin has been able to effectively exercise veto power over the domestic policy package, which the party had planned to move under a special fast-track budget process that would allow it to bypass a filibuster and pass with a simple majority. With Democrats bracing for losses in midterm elections this fall, the package could be the party’s last chance to enact substantial spending and tax legislation while it still holds the White House and both houses of Congress.

In rejecting any climate and energy provisions, Mr. Manchin appeared to have single-handedly shattered Mr. Biden’s ambitious climate agenda and what would have been the largest single federal investment in American history toward addressing the toll of climate change.

His decision came just days after a report showed that prices surged to 9.1 percent in June, exacerbating existing fears about inflation and rising costs for every day Americans. But while Mr. Manchin has long sounded alarms about inflation and the national debt, he had also maintained openness to overhauling the tax code, a position he appeared to have reversed.

It stunned Democratic officials who had labored to win Mr. Manchin’s vote. As recently as Friday, Democrats said they had coalesced around a plan to use the funds from raising taxes on some high-earning Americans to extend the solvency of a key Medicare fund.

But it was particularly devastating for those who had championed the climate and energy provisions. In calls to various climate activists on Thursday night, Mr. Schumer and his staff sounded shellshocked and said they believed until just a few hours before that a deal was still possible, said one person who spoke with Mr. Schumer.

Without action by Congress, it will be impossible to meet Mr. Biden’s goal of cutting U.S. emissions roughly in half by the end of this decade. That target was aimed at keeping the planet to stabilize the climate at about 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming compared to preindustrial levels.

The Earth has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius, or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Lawmakers and activists who have led the charge for action to combat climate change expressed outrage on Thursday night.


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