National News - Page 122

Biden administration working to develop a system for people to prove they’ve been vaccinated


By Kristen Holmes and Devan Cole The Biden administration is currently working to develop a system for people to prove they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a senior administration official. Multiple government agencies are engaged in conversations and planning, coordinated by the White House, as this kind of system will play a role in multiple aspects of life, including potentially the workforce, the official said. President Joe Biden has predicted that life in the US could be back to normal by Christmas, and as more Americans are vaccinated each day, these vaccine credentials — commonly called “vaccine passports”

Opening statements are set to begin in Derek Chauvin’s trial for the death of George Floyd

By Eric Levenson Opening statements are set to begin Monday in former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial, 10 months after George Floyd’s death under his knee launched a summer of protest and unrest. In a first for Minnesota, the trial will be broadcast live in its entirety, giving the public a rare peek into the most important case of the Black Lives Matter era. Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. Citing disturbing video of Floyd’s final moments, prosecutors say Chauvin unintentionally killed Floyd while using excessive force during an

Georgia Republicans speed sweeping elections bill restricting voting access into law

By Kelly Mena, Fredreka Schouten, Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland Republicans in Georgia sped a sweeping elections bill into law Thursday, making it the first presidential battleground to impose new voting restrictions following President Joe Biden’s victory in the state. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature in the span of a few hours before Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it Thursday evening. By changing its election laws, “Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible, and fair,” he said. Kemp, who is up for reelection next year, had refused to give in to former

Dangerous Covid-19 variants could mean all bets are off on the road to normalcy, expert warns


By Travis Caldwell The evidence that Americans are gearing up for a return to normal life is growing apparent. States are relaxing capacity restrictions for public areas and private gatherings. More school districts are reopening for in-person learning. Travel is increasing, with TSA data showing more than 1 million daily passengers in US airports for two consecutive weeks, the longest such stretch since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in early 2020. However, many experts reiterate that Covid-19 is far from over. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on the “Today” show Thursday that

Obama calls for stricter gun laws following Colorado shooting to prevent more ‘random, senseless acts’ of gun violence

By Devan Cole Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for stricter gun laws following the mass shooting in Colorado, bemoaning what he called a national tolerance for “these kinds of random, senseless acts.” Obama said in a statement that he and former first lady Michelle Obama are grieving with the families of the victims of Monday’s massacre in Boulder, but also said they “are also feeling a deep, familiar outrage” for these types of tragedies. The statement by the former president came shortly before President Joe Biden publicly commented on the shooting, which took place at grocery store and

Tornadoes roll across 5 southern states causing at least 5 deaths and heavy destruction

By Mallika Kallingal A wave of tornadoes rolled across five southern states on Thursday, leaving at least five people dead and inflicting heavy damage in its wake, according to officials. Early Friday, the city of Newnan, Georgia, reported damage in and around its historic downtown area due to a tornado and repair crews were working on the scene to clear impacted areas. The National Weather Service had warned the Newnan tornado was a “particularly dangerous situation” and had told residents to take cover. The town was “hit hard and there is significant damage all over the city,” Gina Weathersby, Community

New AstraZeneca report says vaccine was 76% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms


By Maggie Fox Drug giant AstraZeneca updated its data on how well its coronavirus vaccine works, saying late Wednesday the vaccine showed 76% efficacy against symptomatic coronavirus disease and 100% efficacy against severe or critical disease or the need for hospitalization. The vaccine was 85% effective in preventing symptoms in volunteers 65 and older, the company said. The numbers are not terribly different from data the company released in a statement Monday. As with Monday’s data, the company has released them via news release and not in a peer-reviewed report or as a formal submission for US Food and Drug

Georgia House set to pass sweeping bill that would restrict voting access


By Kelly Mena, Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland The GOP-led Georgia House is expected on Thursday to approve a sweeping election bill that would limit voting rights by imposing restrictions like an ID requirement for absentee voting in a state that was key in determining control of the White House and Senate. The passage of SB 202, three days before the end of the 2021 legislative session, will inch the bill one step closer to becoming law as the GOP-led state Legislature hopes to successfully make election changes, part of a national Republican effort that aims to restrict access to

‘We are trying to live.’ Vaccine hesitancy is decreasing as call for equitable access intensifies


By Nicquel Terry Ellis, Amara Walker and Maria Cartaya Getting a Covid-19 vaccine appointment was frustrating for Brenda Hong. The 75-year-old said the online registration system was tough to navigate and she waited weeks for an appointment confirmation that never came. Ultimately, Hong’s niece had to schedule her for the shot earlier this month at a community vaccine site. Hong fears the difficult sign-up process could discourage other elderly, Black people from getting vaccinated. “Somebody has to fix this,” said Hong, of Birmingham, Alabama. “It should not be about who you know, and how much money you have and your

Black-owned hair salons and barbershops provide a “safe haven” for the community in Northwest Arkansas


By Veronica Ortega FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (KFSM) — Like many small businesses around the country, Black-owned barbershops and hair salons have had to adapt to operating during a pandemic. Many locally have had to evolve to survive, but business remains strong because it’s a staple for the Black community. Hair salons and barbershops are not just small businesses for the Black community but a safe haven. “I think we make up a small percentage, and when people come into the area, they feel that they can come for culture, conversation, or just being around a commonplace,” Nick Jones, owner, Trendsetter Barbershop,

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