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Powell says US entering faster growth, though virus spike remains a risk

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The Federal Reserve will likely scale back its bond purchases before considering raising interest rates, Chairman Jerome Powell said, hardening expectations on the sequence of its eventual exit from aggressive policy support.

“We will reach the time at which we will taper asset purchases when we’ve made substantial further progress toward ...Read more

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/TNS

Former Minnesota officer charged in shooting of Black motorist

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MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors in a Minneapolis suburb on Wednesday charged the officer who shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright with second-degree manslaughter, as protests throughout the region have ignited in recent days.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office announced the charge against Kim Potter, who a day earlier resigned from the Brooklyn ...Read more

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Pandemic provokes city vs. state conflicts

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Late last year, commissioners in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, proposed cutting police funding in half over the next decade and redirecting the money to mental health and social services. The bill didn’t pass, but the idea alone so outraged the Georgia legislature that lawmakers decreed it would not happen on their watch.

The legislature ...Read more

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Q&A: 4 things to know about the J&J COVID-19 vaccine pause

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Four months into the largest U.S. vaccine rollout in decades, it’s become clear that the messaging surrounding COVID-19 vaccination efforts is as important as the science behind them.

That was true when the first vaccines were introduced in December at hospitals and nursing homes and even more so after the federal government on Tuesday paused...Read more

Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Senate advances bill to combat attacks against Asian-Americans

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The U.S. Senate on Wednesday easily advanced a bill designed to combat hate crimes against Asian-Americans in a bipartisan response to a wave of attacks since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate voted 92-6 to move forward on the legislation, which lawmakers of both parties say they want to expand and strengthen before likely ...Read more

Hailey Branson-Potts/TNS

'Long time coming': City council in Placerville, Calif., votes to remove noose from city logo

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

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

The issue was first raised last summer when council members discussed removing the noose.

The City Council decided to delay the decision in the hopes that pandemic ...Read more

Plymouth Police Department//TNS

Buddy the Beefalo caught, may have been looking for love on farm

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HARTFORD, Conn. — Buddy, the cleaver-fleeing, freedom-loving beefalo that has been wandering the woods of Connecticut for more than eight months, was caught late Tuesday, possibly looking for love.

The half-ton bull had wandered onto a farm in the town of Plymouth and was hanging out with some cows when the farm owner snagged him and ...Read more


Florida House passes anti-transgender athlete bill

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida House voted Wednesday to block transgender children from playing on sports teams that align with their gender.

The bill, a Republican push to ban transgender athletes from joining girls’ and women’s school sports teams, has become a hot topic — even as the bill’s sponsors admit that transgender girls ...Read more

U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris/TNS

Coast Guard searching Gulf of Mexico for 12 people after commercial boat capsizes off Louisiana

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Search and rescue teams on Wednesday were combing through the Gulf of Mexico after a commercial vessel carrying 18 people capsized off the coast of Louisiana.

Coast Guard crews, with the help of several Good Samaritans aboard private boats, managed to pluck six survivors from the water overnight and resumed search operations around 9 a.m. local...Read more

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Kamala Harris faces diplomatic pitfalls in tackling migration from Central America

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WASHINGTON — Republicans have been pounding Vice President Kamala Harris for weeks, asking when she’ll travel to Central America and Mexico to begin face-to-face talks about curbing the flow of migrants seeking to enter the United States.

Behind the scenes, Harris’ advisers have a different question: Who can she meet with?

Worries over ...Read more

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'Horrifying' abuse scandal still haunts Leavenworth VA center. Sen. Moran floats reforms

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As the new leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs toured VA hospitals across Kansas last week, he confronted the continuing fallout from a sexual abuse scandal in the state that tarnished the agency.

Court judgments ordering millions in payments are still coming in against the VA four years after the perpetrator went to prison. And ...Read more

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First lady Jill Biden undergoes 'common medical procedure,' White House says

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WASHINGTON — First lady Jill Biden successfully underwent what the White House called a “common medical procedure” on Wednesday and is resuming her normal schedule.

President Joe Biden, who announced his plan later in the day to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, accompanied his wife to George Washington ...Read more

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White House Correspondents' Dinner gets canceled … again

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WASHINGTON — The new president will have to wait until at least 2022 before famous comedians can dunk on him in front of a room full of journalists.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has been called off for the second year in a row — a casualty of the pandemic.

“We have worked through any number of scenarios over the last several ...Read more

Yuri Gripas/Yuri Gripas/TNS

Inspector general cites glaring problems within Capitol Police

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WASHINGTON — The Capitol Police Department needs to restructure its civil disturbance unit and overhaul its intelligence operation, glaring problems that hampered the department’s ability to secure the Capitol on the Jan. 6 attack.

The summary of Capitol Police Inspector General Michael A. Bolton’s findings, obtained by CQ Roll Call, ...Read more

Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press/Detroit Free Press/TNS

J&J vaccine pause disrupts an already-slow rollout to minorities

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The U.S. vaccination drive has failed to equitably reach people of all races, and the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is halting key efforts to jab hard-to-reach minority populations.

The J&J shot only makes up about 4% of the more than 189 million doses administered. But because it doesn’t require expensive refrigeration and...Read more

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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


No charges for officer who fatally shot Trump supporter during Capitol siege

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department won’t pursue criminal charges in the death of a woman who was shot by police during the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

The woman, Ashli Babbitt, was among a crowd of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol in an effort to block certification of the 2020 election. A viral video showed her being ...Read more

Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Vaccine hesitancy down in US, but 1 in 7 are still reluctant

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Vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. is shrinking, though 1 in 7 residents remain wary about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, largely because of concerns about side effects.

That segment is younger and less educated than average, according to a tracker released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau that uses Household Pulse Survey data. Residents were ...Read more

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/The Dallas Morning News/TNS

Texas power grid still strained, but no blackouts expected

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas' power grid continued to feel strain on Wednesday as 25% of power plant generation remained offline, the grid's operator said.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas stopped short of calling for energy conservation, something the organization called for on Tuesday. But the agency, which is commonly known as ERCOT, ...Read more

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Iran warns US time is short as nuclear talks face crisis

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Iran warned the U.S. that time’s running out on its troubled bid to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, as an attack on a major Iranian atomic facility and Tehran’s subsequent vow to enrich uranium nearer to weapons grade risk plunging multilateral talks into crisis.

In a tweet, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the disruption on ...Read more