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Biden gets vaccine booster shot; thousands of New York health care workers could lose jobs as soon as today: COVID-19 updates

Biden gets booster shotPresident Joe Biden received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on live TV Monday afternoon, days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots for millions of Americans who received their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago.

"Boosters are important, but the important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated," Biden said, noting about 23% of Americans haven't received a first shot.

"That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country," Biden said. "One thing's for certain: A quarter of the country can't go unvaccinated and us not continue to have a problem."


FBI: Record surge in 2020 murders; nearly 30% increase drives spike in violent crime

FBI reports surge in murders

The FBI reported a nearly 30% increase in murders in 2020, the largest single-year jump since the bureau began recording crime statistics six decades ago.

The surge in killings drove an overall 5% increase in violent crime last year, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report.

Violence stalked most major cities, the report found, even as the coronavirus pandemic exacted its own deadly toll across the country.

The numbers appeared to closely track preliminary data released early this year by the FBI, which showed that murders had spiked by more than 20% in 2020.

Although the reported annual increase was dramatic, the total number of homicides last year – 21,570 – did not surpass some stunning totals in the early 1990s, including the nearly 25,000 murders recorded in 1991.



R. Kelly Found Guilty Of All Counts In Sex Trafficking, Racketeering Trial

R. Kelly found guilty on all countss

After decades of sexual abuse allegations, R. Kelly has been held legally accountable for the first time. The 54-year-old R&B singer was found guilty on all counts with a Brooklyn, N.Y. jury of seven men and five women returning the verdict on Monday afternoon after less than two full days of deliberations.

Kelly was found guilty on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, an interstate anti-sex trafficking law. He stood accused of sexual exploitation of a child, bribery and kidnapping among other disturbing crimes.

According to the New York Times, the "I Believe I Can Fly" crooner "sat motionless in the courtroom" when the verdict was read. He wore a mask in court due to COVID-19 safety protocols. An attorney for Kelly said they are considering filing an appeal and are disappointed in the verdict, per CNN.




Liz Cheney fires back at Trump and says she was wrong to oppose gay marriage

Liz Cheney fires baack at TrumpOne of the less dignified spats in US politics has rumbled onwards as the Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney responded to a bizarre insult from Donald Trump.

“I like Republican presidents who win re-election,” Cheney tweeted on Sunday, with a picture of George W Bush.

Bush beat John Kerry for re-election in 2004. Cheney’s father, Dick Cheney, was vice-president to Bush.

Liz Cheney’s tweet was a response to an image released by Trump on Thursday. Under the heading “ICYMI: Must-See Photo”, a Trump-affiliated political action committee sent out a Photoshopped image which spliced Liz Cheney and George W Bush.




Biden officials move to protect Dreamers brought to US as children

Dreamers protest

The Biden administration is moving to protect the 700,000 “Dreamers” who came to the US as children illegally but have been protected under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (Daca) since 2012.

A federal judge in Texas ruled that Obama’s program is illegal, putting at risk the immigration status of those who arrived to the US as minors under the age of 16.

Biden’s administration is appealing the decision in court, but in the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security said it will move Dreamers to the back of the deportation line in a bid to protect their status in the country, according to Reuters. The homeland security department told Reuters that the administration will focus resources instead of individuals who knowingly entered the US illegally.


U.S. President Reagan's shooter John Hinckley wins unconditional release

Reagan's shooter out of prison unconditionallyA U.S. judge on Monday said he would grant "unconditional release" to John Hinckley, who wounded former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and three other people in a 1981 assassination attempt.

"I am going to, after all these years, grant unconditional release to Mr. Hinckley," U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said during a court hearing in the District of Columbia.

In 2016, Friedman allowed Hinckley to move out of a Washington psychiatric hospital, where he had lived for three decades, but imposed restrictions on his travel and internet usage.

Friedman said during Monday's hearing that he planned to lift those remaining restrictions. Hinckley's mental health problems are "in remission" and that he no longer poses a danger, Friedman said.


Meet The First 2 Black Women To Be Inducted Into The National Inventors Hall Of Fame

First Black women in Inventor's Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has been around for nearly five decades, but hasn't included any Black women in its ranks — until now.

Engineer Marian Croak and the late ophthalmologist Dr. Patricia Bath will make history as part of the next cohort of inductees, the nonprofit announced this past week. They are the first Black female inventors to receive this honor, which has been bestowed on some 600 other innovators both living and dead.

A spokesperson told NPR over email that there are 48 female inductees and 30 Black inductees in the hall of fame.


China power crunch spreads, shutting factories and dimming growth outlook

China power crunchWidening power shortages in China have halted production at numerous factories including many supplying Apple and Tesla, while some shops in the northeast operated by candlelight and malls shut early as the economic toll of the squeeze mounted.

China is in the grip of a power crunch as a shortage of coal supplies, toughening emissions standards and strong demand from manufacturers and industry have pushed coal prices to record highs and triggered widespread curbs on usage.

Rationing has been implemented during peak hours in many parts of northeastern China since last week, and residents of cities including Changchun said cuts were occurring sooner and lasting for longer, state media reported.


A girl was threatened with jail over COVID-19 social media posts. A judge ruled in her favor

Judge Brett LudwigA federal judge has ruled in favor of a high school girl who said she was threatened with jail if she didn't take down her social media posts about her brush with COVID-19 last year.

Amyiah Cohoon, then a sophomore, took a spring break trip to Florida with the Westfield Area High School band in 2020. The students returned to Wisconsin on March 15, earlier than planned, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cohoon posted on Instagram that she thought she had been infected, had been to hospitals, and though she tested negative, her doctors thought she probably had had it earlier. In a final post, she is wearing an oxygen mask and says she's beaten COVID, and urges others to stay safe.



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