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March 11, 2021 GMT

BIDEN CALLS FOR ANOTHER 100 MILLION DOSES OF ONE-SHOT VACCINE

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has directed his administration to order another 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, boosting a likely U.S. surplus of doses later this year while much of the rest of the world struggles with deep shortages.

Even before the order yesterday, the U.S. was to have enough approved vaccine delivered by mid-May to cover every adult — and enough for 400 million people total by the end of July. Enough doses to cover 200 million more people are on order should vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax get approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The new J&J doses, which would cover another 100 million people, are expected to be delivered in the latter half of the year.

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White House aides said Biden’s first priority is ensuring that Americans are vaccinated before considering distributing doses elsewhere.

MINN. COURT PAVES WAY TO ADD LESSER CHARGE FOR EX-OFFICER IN GEORGE FLOYD CASE

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of a former Minneapolis police officer trying to block a third-degree murder charge from being reinstated in George Floyd’s death.

At issue is whether the conviction of a former police officer in an unrelated case sets a precedent for prosecutors to restore a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin that the trial judge dismissed earlier.

The high court’s decision leaves open the possibility that the judge could restore the charge, lessening the chances that Chauvin’s trial would be delayed over the dispute.

Judge Peter Cahill noted the ruling during a break and told the prosecution and defense they’ll discuss the issue this morning before jury selection begins for the day. He notes there are still some legal issues left to be decided before resolving that dispute.

During the second day of jury selection, attorneys probed potential jurors about their attitudes toward police, trying to determine whether they’re more inclined to believe testimony from law enforcement over evidence from other witnesses to the fatal confrontation.

INDEPENDENT PROBE SET TO PROBE ALLEGATIONS OF RACIST BULLYING AGAINST 13-YEAR-OLD BOY AT SLEEPOVER

DALLAS (AP) — A third party will be hired to investigate allegations of racist bullying and abuse against a Black 13-year-old boy during a sleepover after claims that he was only invited to entertain his white classmates.

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During a news conference Tuesday, school, state and local officials addressed the incident that quickly went viral after the boy’s mother, Summer Smith, posted the videos and images on Facebook.

The Dallas Morning News reports Smith said she made the videos public because she wasn’t getting the help she needed from the Plano school district and officials at Haggard Middle School. She says administrators first told her there was nothing they could do because the incident happened off campus. However students circulated the videos during a school day.

The allegations under investigation include that the boy was invited solely to be “entertainment” for his white classmates during the sleepover, where he was called racial slurs, beaten and made to drink white classmates’ urine.

U OF CALIFORNIA BRANCH OFFERS STUDENTS MONEY FOR “STAYCATIONS” DURING SPRING BREAK

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — The University of California, Davis is offering students $75 to be used for “staycations” to encourage them to avoid nonessential travel during spring break.

Students who choose to stay home during the March 22-26 break will get the money in gift cards. The university says student response has been “awesome.”

Sheri Atkinson, associate vice chancellor for student affairs at U.C.-Davis tells The Los Angeles Times the money is being offered the students as “a positive incentive...to follow public health guidance.”

She says about half the student body is living either on campus or in the Davis area.

To get a gift card, students must apply, pledge to stay in town for the weeklong break — and complete a COVID-19 test. The university initially planned to give 750 such grants, but because of student interest, it upped the cap to 2,000.

Colleges around the country are scaling back spring break or canceling it entirely to discourage partying that could spread the virus and raise infection rates back on campus.