Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

Joe Biden: Obama prepared to use executive action on gun control

President Barack Obama is considering the use of an executive order to restrict access to guns or ammunition in the wake of nationwide revulsion in the US over the Connecticut school shootings, vice-president Joe Biden said Wednesday.

Google’s Eric Schmidt says North Korea must open to internet as visit ends

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has warned North Korea that it risks continued isolation and economic decline unless it quickly loosens its grip on access to the internet.

Australian heatwave nears 50C inland as severe fire threat declared

Australia is bracing for more potentially dangerous fires, with temperatures on Friday predicted to soar close to 50C in the centre of the country and up to 46C in parts of New South Wales.

Hilda Solis quits cabinet position as White House denies diversity gap

The labor secretary Hilda Solis, the first Latina to head a major US federal agency, announced plans to resign on Wednesday, just as President Barack Obama faces questions about a lack of women in his second-term leadership team.

Germany tells Cameron: don’t blackmail the EU

One of Angela Merkel’s closest allies has warned David Cameron not to try to blackmail the rest of Europe. The prime minister was also told a UK referendum was a high-risk option that might paralyse Europe and end in economic disaster for Britain.

Boston flu outbreak prompts mayor to declare public health emergency

The city of Boston has declared a public health emergency as fears of a nationwide flu outbreak intensify.

Mayor Thomas Menino urged residents to get vaccinated against flu, as the city scrambled to deal with 700 confirmed cases so far – compared to just 70 cases during the whole of last year’s flu season.

Killer Whales trapped in ice of Hudson Bay

 Canadian Inuit people and authorities are attempting to help a pod of killer whales trapped in the sea ice of Hudson Bay.

The mayor of the remote Inuit community of Inukjuak, Quebec, is calling on the government to send an icebreaker to save the panicking mammals, who are taking turns breathing through a hole in the ice about the size of a pick-up truck in the frigid waters.

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