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Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (front second left) and officials inspect a shipping container filled with plastic waste on January 20, 2020. Photo: AFP via Getty Images.

Malaysia is refusing to turn into the world's dumping ground amid growing disposal needs, the AP reports.

What's happening: The nation has returned more than 150 shipping containers of plastic garbage to 13 mostly rich countries since the third quarter of last year. Hauls of plastic waste have been rerouted to Southeast Asia since China issued a ban on importing plastic trash in 2018.

  • "Of the 150 containers, 43 were returned to France, 42 to the United Kingdom, 17 to the United States, 11 to Canada and 10 to Spain," AP notes. The rest were returned to Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Lithuania, Portugal, Singapore and Sri Lanka, Malysia's environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said.

Yeo said Malaysia is in talks with the U.S. to return another 60 containers this year. Canada, Japan, the U.K. and Belgium all also have outstanding containers that are being held at Malaysian ports.

  • “If people want to see us as the rubbish dump of the world, you dream on,” Yeo added.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
24 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.