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A year into pandemic, federal officials design new mask guidelines to better protect more workers

Current News / News & Features /

Federal officials announced new measures to help get fresh, new N95 masks to health care workers and expand their use in other industries after scientists argued that the highly protective masks are essential to keep workers safe from COVID-19.

The changes come as U.S. mask-makers say the demand from hospitals is so sluggish that they’ve laid...Read more

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Scores of tule elk died at Point Reyes seashore in 2020. Are their days numbered?

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LOS ANGELES — Tule elk are treasured creatures in California, and for years, animal rights groups have butted heads with the Point Reyes National Seashore over its practice of keeping elk fenced away from nearby cattle ranches.

Amid a dry 2020, the groups tried to bring water to the creatures but were rebuffed by the National Park Service. ...Read more

Jose M. Osorio/TNS

Vaccinations lag for home health workers

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Gaudy Baez-Montero, 41, works full time in Massachusetts as a personal care aide for an 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. She wants to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect herself and the child, but she’s struggling to get an appointment.

“My work gave me a number to call,” she said. “I’ve been calling and calling, but I haven’t ...Read more

Ringo Chiu/ZUMA Wire/TNS

Need a COVID-19 vaccine? Visit your local transit center

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When Foothill Transit officials opened a new $24 million, three-level bus depot and park-and-ride garage last March in Covina, California, they figured it would get lots of use.

But about two weeks later, the pandemic hit and ridership plummeted. That left the transit agency with a lot of empty space and no one to fill it for months.

By March,...Read more

Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

Does COVID-19 test positivity still matter? Vaccines are upending trusted virus metrics

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MIAMI — About four out of every 10 Floridians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — a shift in the pandemic landscape that has upended the meaningfulness of various statistics that health experts, government officials and the public have relied on for the last year.

Vaccines haven’t just cut the number of people at risk ...Read more

MATIAS J. OCNER/TNS

Dark money details emerge as former Florida state senator and no-party candidate head to court

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An alleged election scheme that stumped Florida’s political world for over half a year is about to spill into court, as former Republican Senator Frank Artiles is set to plead not guilty and ask for a jury trial in a high-profile public corruption case.

Artiles, who will be arraigned Friday in the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami, is facing ...Read more

Paul Grover/Getty Images Europe/TNS

Britain watches, wonders: Will brother princes make peace while grieving grandfather's death?

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LONDON — A popular prince’s return. Two brothers, once close but now estranged. A grandmother in deep mourning for her spouse of more than seven decades. A strait-laced father whose open grief over his own father’s passing provides a rare glimpse of his inner life.

Yet again, life imitates “The Crown.”

Saturday’s funeral of Britain...Read more

Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Why flights from Central America to LA often have the enticing aroma of fried chicken

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LOS ANGELES — Norma Ramirez stepped off Delta Flight 1903 from Guatemala City with a backpack, a blue neck pillow and an aromatic carry-on: chicken.

Lots and lots of fried chicken.

In late March, the 54-year-old came back to Los Angeles after spending two weeks with her husband's family. As she does almost every time she leaves her home ...Read more

Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Louisville cop gets internal slap on wrist for angry email about Breonna Taylor investigation

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A Louisville police officer who shot Breonna Taylor during the deadly March 2020 raid at her apartment was reprimanded by the city’s police chief — not for his role in the raid, but for sending an angry email about the investigation.

In the email, Jonathan Mattingly said that he, Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison did the “legal, moral and...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

White South Carolina soldier who yelled, pushed Black man is charged with assault, Richland County sheriff says

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A white Fort Jackson soldier seen in a video pushing and yelling at a young Black man in a northeast Columbia neighborhood has been criminally charged, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

The incident took place in the Summit neighborhood, a sprawling community located between Clemson and Hardscrabble roads...Read more

Mihoko Owada/Sipa USA/TNS

NY Democrats among US House group to propose adding 4 Supreme Court seats

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A pair of New York congressmen are among a group of Democrats who plan to introduce a bill that would add four seats to the Supreme Court — the opening salvo in what promises to be a brutal legislative fight with conservatives over the high bench’s political balance.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, who chairs the powerful House Judiciary Committee, and ...Read more

Viorel Margineanu/Dreamstime/TNS

Daunte Wright death draws attention to minor driving infractions

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MINNEAPOLIS — The fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday is drawing fresh attention to two minor infractions in Minnesota law that many motorists might not realize can prompt a pullover.

Minnesota law forbids motorists from driving without current license tags, and it also bans motorists from driving with anything obstructing the ...Read more

Getty Images/New York Daily News/TNS

US poised to impose Russia sanctions over election, SolarWinds

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is poised to take action against Russian individuals and entities in retaliation for alleged misconduct including the SolarWinds hack and efforts to disrupt the U.S. election, according to people familiar with the matter.

As part of the moves, which could be announced as soon as Thursday, the U.S. plans ...Read more

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Proposal to give Washington, DC, statehood heads toward House vote

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WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee approved a bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state, sending it to a vote on the House floor as soon as next week.

But the legislation, which cleared the committee on a 25-19 party-line vote, stands little chance in the Senate in the face of broad opposition from ...Read more

Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS

Restaurant community supports mother of Daunte Wright's child with check

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Restaurant owners presented the mother of Daunte Wright's child, Chyna Whitaker, with a check for $17,000 Wednesday at her church, Worldwide Outreach for Christ.

Wright, 20, was fatally shot during a traffic stop Sunday by former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter.

Brian Ingram of Purpose Driven Restaurant Group and chef and ...Read more

Andrew Harnik/Pool/TNS

At climate summit, Biden will try to reassure a skeptical world that the US is back

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WASHINGTON — Mere hours after he was sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order committing the United States to rejoin the international accord designed to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change — the Paris climate agreement.

That was the easy part.

Now as the White House prepares to host virtual climate talks...Read more

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images North America/TNS

Bernie Madoff's death 'reopens profoundly painful wounds' for Ponzi scheme victims

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Judy Schindler says her 87-year-old mother has no tears to shed for Bernie Madoff.

Rhea Schindler had to give up her house and the family was forced to auction off Jewish heirlooms after Madoff squandered her husband’s retirement savings in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that crumbled more than a decade ago. Her husband,...Read more

Zen Punnett/AFP/AFP/TNS

Volcano continues rocking Caribbean island of St. Vincent. UN appeals for international help

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As an explosive volcano continues to rock the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Wednesday, the country’s prime minister once more appealed to those still remaining in the danger zone to leave.

“For heaven’s sake leave. Do not risk anymore of your life and limb,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told people ...Read more

News briefs

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City council in Placerville, Calif., votes to remove noose from logo

The Placerville City Council voted unanimously late Tuesday to remove the noose symbol from the logo of the California city.

The “meeting has been a long time coming,” said Mayor Dennis Thomas.

The issue was first raised last summer when council members discussed ...Read more

Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/TNS

Women claim Rep. Matt Gaetz joined wild sex-and-drugs parties, CNN reports

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Two women said embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., participated in wild Florida parties that included sex and drugs, CNN reported Wednesday.

One of the women, whom the network did not name, claimed she was paid to attend the parties with Gaetz and other local Republican bigwigs in suburban Orlando, Flortida, at which they sometimes had sex with ...Read more