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Sunday, Feb 28th

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Hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise. Here's what activists, lawmakers and police are doing to stop the violence

Asian hate crimesHelen Oh was walking down the sidewalk of the downtown 16th Street pedestrian mall in April when two young men approached from the other direction.

The coronavirus pandemic had been spreading in the United States for a month, and Asian American community groups were warning of a disconcerting surge of hateful and racist language directed toward them, tied to the virus’ origins in China. Oh, an attorney, was on her guard.

The two men drew closer.

“Infected and disgusting,” one called out as they passed, she said.

Heart racing, she ducked into a drugstore.

“I didn't think to say anything back when I heard it. It really only sunk in as I was walking away,” she said.

Stepping back onto the street, Oh, 30, walked toward her car as an older couple approached. The woman made a show of detouring around her, she said.

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Dozens Of Kidnapped Nigerian Students Freed; Hundreds Of Others Still Missing

Nigerian students kidnapped; some boys returned

Dozens of students abducted from a school in northwest Nigeria last week have been rescued, the state government announced Saturday.

Gov. Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state said that 38 abductees, including several staff members, were rescued around 4 a.m. Bello met with the victims, all of whom were present at a press conference Saturday afternoon, except for one who was being treated at a local hospital for exhaustion.

The victims, members of the Government Science College of Kagara, had been abducted Feb. 17 by gunmen in military uniforms. One student was shot and killed in the attack. Nigerian schoolchildren have increasingly become the targets of armed gunmen, who kidnap them in the hopes of securing large ransoms.

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FDA Authorizes Johnson & Johnson's One-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine

J&J vaccine authorized

A third COVID-19 vaccine is on the way, and this one requires only one shot for immunization.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for emergency use Saturday, a day after a panel of advisers to the agency voted unanimously (22-0) in its favor.

"The authorization of this vaccine expands the availability of vaccines, the best medical prevention method for COVID-19, to help us in the fight against this pandemic, which has claimed over half a million lives in the United States," said a statement by Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock.

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Virginia joins 15 other states in legalizing marijuana

Virginia legalizes marijuana

The Virginia Legislature approved adult-use marijuana legalization Saturday in a historic vote marking the first state in the Old South to embrace full legalization.

The House passed the measure in a 48-43 vote, and the Senate approved it in a 20-19 vote. Not a single Republican voted for the bill in either chamber.

"This, to me, is a justice bill," Del. Charniele Herring, a sponsor of the legalization bill and the Democratic majority leader, said on the floor. "While it has flaws and it is not the perfect bill ... I think this moves us a step in the right direction."

The vote came after a conference committee struck a deal on Saturday to reconcile different versions of the bill that passed in both chambers earlier this month.

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'There's a degree of mistrust': a third of US military personnel refuse Covid vaccine

Mistrust in military as one third refuse vaccineReluctance to be vaccinated for Covid-19 is now rife in the US military, with about a third of troops on active duty or in the national guard refusing to be administered the vaccine.

Soldiers have previously been given approved vaccines on a mandatory basis but because the vaccines for the coronavirus have only been given an emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, members of the military are able to opt out.

Many are choosing to do so, with military officials recently telling Congress that a third of service members have declined the shots, the New York Times reported. At the large Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina, acceptance rates for the vaccines are below 50%.

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FBI Singles Out Possible Capitol Suspect In Death Of Police Officer Brian Sicknick

FBI singles out possible Capitol Suspect in death of police officer

In a major case breakthrough, the FBI has singled out a possible suspect on video in the fatal attack on police officer Brian Sicknick during the storming of the Capitol last month, sources have told a number of media outlets.

The 42-year-old U.S. Capitol Police officer died the following evening after apparently suffering fatal injuries while defending the building against rioting Donald Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election.

After a homicide investigation was launched, officials began to suspect that bear spray may have been linked to Sicknick’s death, two FBI officials told The New York Times, which was the first to report news of the possible suspect. The individual spotted on the video attacked several officers with bear spray, including Sicknick, and also discussed using the spray on police in a video, according to the Times.

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U.S. administers 72.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC

72.8 million vaccones admimistered- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 72,806,180 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in the country as of Saturday morning and it had distributed 96,402,290 doses.

The tally is for both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines as of 6 a.m. ET Saturday, the agency said. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines involve two doses.

The CDC on Friday had reported a tally 70,454,064 vaccines doses administered and 94,300,910 doses distributed.

The agency said that as of Saturday, 48,435,536 people had received at least one vaccine dose while 23,698,627 had received the two doses.

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House passes Joe Biden's COVID relief bill with $1,400 stimulus checks, legislation heads to Senate

Nancy PelosiThe Democratically-controlled House approved President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package early Saturday, a key step for a measure that would provide millions of Americans $1,400 stimulus payments, ramp up vaccine distribution and extend unemployment aid through the summer.

The bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212. No Republicans voted for it, and two Democrats voted against it: Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Jared Golden, D-Maine.

The measure now heads to the Senate where it faces a rocky path in the evenly divided chamber.

No Senate Republicans are expected to support the bill, citing its size and scope, so the president will have to count on every one of the 50 Democratic senators — and a tie-breaking 51st vote from Vice President Kamala Harris — to make sure its key pillars remain in the bill.

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