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US to buy 200 million more doses of Moderna COVID vaccine

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Moderna Inc. said the U.S. government would buy 200 million more doses of its COVID 19 vaccine in a deal that included the potential for buying other COVID candidates in testing, including booster shots.

The new doses bring the total amount of Moderna vaccine ordered by the U.S. government to 500 million doses, of which 217 million doses had ...Read more

Dreamstime/TNS

Relaxed rules attract entrepreneurs to state 'sandboxes'

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Sandboxes aren’t just play areas for toddlers. Increasingly, state and national governments around the world are creating so-called regulatory sandboxes: programs that allow software companies to skirt regulations in order to test a new product or service.

The most common U.S. sandbox programs serve companies that make financial technology, ...Read more

Armando L. Sanchez/TNS

5 people shot in Chicago's second mass shooting in a day

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CHICAGO – Five people were shot just west of Garfield Park late Tuesday, marking the city’s second mass shooting that day, according to Chicago police.

Four men and a woman suffered gunshot wounds during the attack in the 3800 block of West Monroe Street about 9:20 p.m., authorities said in a media notification. One of the people was in ...Read more

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

House passes bill to protect disaster victims from federal debt after Missouri man's story

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Tuesday passed a bill intended to prevent flood and other disaster victims from being forced to pay back federal relief funds disbursed in error.

The legislation, from Missouri Republican Rep. Sam Graves, was in response to the 2019 story of a Holt County man who was told he owed the Federal Emergency Management ...Read more

JORG CARSTENSEN/DPA/TNS

It wasn't a crank call: Surprising many, MacKenzie Scott gives millions to California groups

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LOS ANGELES – Denise Dunning opened an email in spring that said an anonymous donor wanted to make a donation to Rise Up, a California-based nonprofit she leads that works to improve the rights of women and girls across the globe. She thought it was spam. It wasn’t — and a multimillion donation is headed her way.

Long Beach City College ...Read more

Susan Stocker/TNS

Royal Caribbean delays Odyssey of the Seas sailing after crew members test COVID positive

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MIAMI – Royal Caribbean International has postponed the inaugural sailing of its Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship “out of an abundance of caution” after eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19, the company’s CEO said.

Odyssey of the Seas was set to sail from Fort Lauderdale on July 3 and make stops in the Caribbean. Its sailing ...Read more

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images North America/TNS

Rapper Kodak Black secretly recorded apology from Florida public official, then posted it for the world to see

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Renowned rapper Kodak Black caused a commotion this week when he secretly recorded a public official apologizing to him over the phone.

Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen called the rapper Monday to apologize for opposing a proclamation in honor of Black’s charitable work. Bogen said he was reacting to Black’s ...Read more

Claudette expected to form and track toward the central US Gulf Coast

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Forecasters expect Claudette to soon form over the Gulf of Mexico, setting up the potential for flooding in parts of the northern U.S Gulf Coast that could include the Florida Panhandle.

Tropical Storm Claudette is expected to develop Thursday or Friday from a large trough of low pressure currently nestled in the Bay ...Read more

Allen J. Schaben/TNS

In farewell, Beutner calls LA schools a 'model for the nation.' Others worry about work ahead

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LOS ANGELES – Austin Beutner, the outgoing leader of the Los Angeles Unified School District, took the stage of the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday to declare that the state of the city's schools is excellent. But as he focused on accomplishments, others in the audience were pondering the work ahead.

The superintendent of the nation's second-...Read more

It turns out some Californians aren't eager to shed their masks just yet

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LOS ANGELES – It turns out that many people are not that eager to throw away their masks.

California fully reopened Tuesday, and with that, residents who are fully vaccinated were able to go into many public places without masks, even indoors. Some did. But many others decided to keep their masks on.

For the general population, fully ...Read more

CARLOS OSORIO/AFP/TNS

Michigan lawmakers compromise, allocate more than $6.6 billion in federal pandemic funds

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DETROIT – Michigan lawmakers in both legislative chambers approved massive federal pandemic relief measures on Tuesday, paving the way for more than $6.6 billion to go to schools and families in need.

The House and Senate passed separate, multi-billion dollar bills with essentially unanimous support, indicating the legislative logjam on ...Read more

Biden goes head to head with Putin as tensions rise between US and Russia

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GENEVA — President Joe Biden traded the warm welcome of European allies Wednesday for his first sit-down as head of state with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are arguably at their worst since the Cold War.

The much-anticipated meeting at a picturesque 18th century villa in Geneva was ...Read more

Pockets of unvaccinated Americans threaten to prolong pandemic

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As much of the country emerges from masking and social distancing, undervaccinated pockets in the U.S. still threaten to bring the virus roaring back.

Less than 25% of the population is fully vaccinated in at least 482 counties, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by Bloomberg News. Many of these counties...Read more

Moscow orders mandatory vaccinations after spike in COVID cases

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Moscow ordered service-sector and municipal workers to get vaccinated amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, as the Kremlin denied any reversal in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opposition to compulsory inoculation.

At least 60% of workers at consumer-facing businesses and city employees, including health professionals and teachers, must ...Read more

Leigh Paterson/TNS

Violent Colorado arrest puts spotlight on how police treat disabled people

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Nearly a year after police officers in Loveland, Colorado, injured an elderly woman with dementia and then laughed at footage of her arrest, two of those officers are facing criminal charges while the rest of the department undergoes additional training. The fallout has drawn national attention to a problem that experts say is widespread across ...Read more

Irvine Police Department/TNS

A mother and daughter 'kidnapped.' A husband's bizarre story. A baffling mystery

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IRVINE, Calif. — To Irvine detectives, Cheng Zhang’s story initially strained belief. His wife and 12-year-old stepdaughter were missing — kidnapped from their apartment, he claimed — and he had waited more than a week to report it.

Zhang, a 42-year-old Uber driver, said he had been knocked out by a stranger at his door with an ...Read more

Robert Gauthier/TNS

As Biden narrows immigration focus, 'Dreamers' try to stay optimistic

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LOS ANGELES — Maria Lopez was skeptical when President-elect Joe Biden announced early in the year that he would send a groundbreaking legislative package to Congress that would overhaul U.S. immigration policy and offer a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people, including herself and her parents.

Lopez, 31, a Mexican immigrant who lives...Read more

TNS

California banned private prisons, immigrant detention centers. Will the law survive court?

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LOS ANGELES — When California legislators voted to ban private prison contracts in 2019, advocates hailed the first-of-its-kind law as a victory for immigrants who they said have long suffered in facilities run by corporations that cut corners and provide substandard living conditions and medical care.

Not everyone saw it that way. Geo Group,...Read more

TNS

A fingerprint, whisper networks and Instagram: How Philly strippers banded together as cops tracked a serial rapist

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PHILADELPHIA — After the first rape last month, women in Philadelphia’s sex-work and strip-club industries were on edge for days, sharing physical descriptions of the attacker on Instagram and whispering to coworkers to drive home in pairs.

”This is just one of those stories that caught wind,” said a woman who performs under the name ...Read more

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/TNS

Commentary: The kids who aren't all right -- the pandemic's lasting toll on youth mental health

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On a busy night shift in the psychiatric emergency room, during a monthlong psychiatry rotation for medical school, I first met my patient, a teenager.

She was hunched over a stretcher at the far end of the hallway. Before the pandemic, she spent lots of time with her friends and loved going to school. Then COVID-19 lockdowns turned school ...Read more