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April 15, 2021 GMT

JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE REMAINS ON HOLD

UNDATED (AP) — Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will remain in limbo a while longer.

Distribution of the virus remains on hold after government health advisers said they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk really is.

The reports are exceedingly rare — six cases out of more than 7 million U.S. inoculations with the one-dose vaccine.

But the government has recommended a pause in J&J shots this week. The move came soon after European regulators declared that such clots are a rare but possible risk with the AstraZeneca vaccine. The AstraZeneca shot is made in a similar way as the J&J vaccine — and is not yet approved for use in the U.S.

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WHITE EX-OFFICER CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER IN SHOOTING OF BLACK MAN

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — A white former suburban Minneapolis police officer is charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright.

The shooting has ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police.

The charge against former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter was filed three days after Wright was killed during a traffic stop — and as the nearby murder trial progresses for the ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd last May.

The former Brooklyn Center police chief has said that Potter, a 26-year veteran and training officer, intended to use her Taser on Wright but fired her handgun instead.

However, protesters and Wright’s family members say there’s no excuse for the shooting and that it shows how the justice system is tilted against Blacks, noting Wright was stopped for an expired car registration — and ended up dead.

BIG COMPANIES STEP UP COMPLAINTS ABOUT VOTING RULE CHANGES

UNDATED (AP) — Big business has ratcheted up its objections to proposals that would make it harder to vote, with several hundred companies and executives signing a new statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation.”

The letter, published yesterday in The New York Times and The Washington Post, was signed by companies including Amazon, Google, Starbucks and Bank of America, and individuals such as Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, plus law firms and nonprofit groups.

It’s the largest group yet to join protests against Republican efforts to change election rules in states around the country.

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The letter read in part, “Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy and we call upon all Americans to join us in taking a nonpartisan stand for this most basic and fundamental right of all Americans. We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot.”

Many of the signers have been loyal donors to Republican political campaigns.

WIDESPREAD SEARCH CONTINUES FOR CAPSIZED OILFIELD VESSEL

PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) — Coast Guard boats and aircraft have covered an area larger than the state of Rhode Island to search for 12 people still missing off the Louisiana coast after their oilfield vessel capsized in hurricane-force winds.

The Coast Guard says one worker’s body was recovered yesterday and six people were rescued Tuesday after the Seacor Power overturned Tuesday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico.

The search, interrupted by darkness and bad weather, has totaled nearly 40 hours and more than 1,440 square miles of Gulf waters by yesterday afternoon.

DISGRACED FINANCIAL GURU BERNARD MADOFF DIES

NEW YORK (AP) — Bernard Madoff has died.

The infamous architect of an epic securities swindle that burned thousands of investors, outfoxed regulators and earned him a 150-year prison term, died early yesterday behind bars. He was 82.

Madoff’s death at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, was confirmed by his lawyer and prison officials.

For decades, Madoff enjoyed an image as a self-made financial guru whose Midas touch defied market fluctuations. An ex-chair of the Nasdaq stock market, he had a devoted legion of investment clients, including filmmaker Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax.

But his business was exposed in 2008 as a Ponzi scheme that wiped out people’s fortunes and ruined charities. He became so hated he wore a bulletproof vest to court.

The fraud was believed to be the largest in Wall Street’s history.