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December 30, 2020 GMT

FIRST REPORTED US CASE OF COVID-19 VARIANT FOUND IN COLORADO

DENVER (AP) - The first reported U.S. case of the COVID-19 variant that’s been seen in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Colorado. Gov. Jared Polis and state health officials said Tuesday that the case was found in a man in his 20s who’s in isolation and has no travel history. British scientists believe the new virus variant is more contagious than previously identified strains. Colorado health officials say the vaccines being given now are thought to be effective against this variant. Public health officials are investigating other potential cases and doing contract tracing to determine the variant’s spread in Colorado.

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INMATE WHO SURVIVED EXECUTION ATTEMPT DIES; COVID SUSPECTED

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio says a death row inmate who survived an execution attempt has died with the coronavirus as the suspected cause. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says condemned killer Romell Broom died Monday at age 64. Department spokesperson Sara French says Broom is on the agency’s “COVID probable list” for inmates suspected to have died of COVID-19 pending a death certificate. The 2009 execution of Broom by lethal injection was called off after two hours when Ohio prison technicians were unable to find a suitable vein. Broom cried in pain while receiving 18 needle sticks.

NEW US DIETARY GUIDELINES: NO CANDY, CAKE FOR KIDS UNDER 2

UNDATED (AP) — The first U.S. government dietary guidelines for infants and toddlers recommend feeding only breast milk for at least six months and giving no added sugar to children younger than 2. The government released the guidelines Tuesday. Much of the advice sounds familiar: Load your plate with fruits and vegetables. Cut back on sweets, saturated fats and sodium. A scientific committee in July said men should limit alcohol to one drink each day. But the government stopped short of that, sticking with prior guidance of two drinks per day for men. Women are told to limit daily alcohol to one drink.

MAJOR RAIL SAFETY TECHNOLOGY INSTALLED BEFORE DEADLINE

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Federal regulators say the railroad industry has installed an automatic braking system on nearly 58,000 miles of track where it is required ahead of a yearend deadline. Federal Railroad Administration chief Ronald Batory said Tuesday that railroads worked together over the past 12 years to develop and install the long-awaited technology known as positive train control. The roughly $15 billion braking system is aimed at reducing human error by automatically stopping trains in certain situations like when it’s in danger of colliding, derailing because of excessive speed, entering track under maintenance or traveling the wrong direction because of switching mistakes.

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FRENCH DESIGNER PIERRE CARDIN, LICENSING PIONEER, DIES AT 98

PARIS (AP) - France’s Academy of Fine Arts says fashion designer Pierre Cardin has died at age 98. Known for his Space Age styles, Cardin revolutionized fashion starting in the early 1950s and designed the bubble dress and other iconic looks of 20th century. He also was a licensing maverick who lent his name to thousands of products from wristwatches and stockings to belts and bedsheets. During the brand’s heyday in the 1970s and ’80s, his products were sold at some 100,000 outlets worldwide. Cardin used his fabulous wealth to snap up top-notch properties in Paris, including the restaurant Maxim’s. The Fine Arts Academy said Cardin died on Tuesday.

MARYLAND MAY REPEAL STATE SONG, A CONFEDERATE CALL TO ARMS

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - After decades of debate, legislators in Maryland finally seem ready to repeal the state song. “Maryland, My Maryland” was written in 1861 as a call to arms for the Confederacy. It refers to President Abraham Lincoln as a despot and urges defiance to the “Northern scum.” Poet James Ryder Randall was among many Marylanders who sided against the Union. The lyrics were set to the traditional seasonal tune of “O Tannenbaum,” and it was adopted as the state song in 1939. House Speaker Adrienne Jones says it no longer represents what Maryland stands for, especially given the nationwide protests against racial injustice.