BOSTON (AP) — This year’s 11th graders won’t be required to take the MCAS test to graduate as the state continues to slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education board voted Tuesday to modify graduation requirements so members of the Class of 2022 won’t be required to take the MCAS test to graduate due to the turmoil created by the pandemic.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Grammy Award nominated rock & soul duo Black Pumas and Cleveland's own Machine Gun Kelly will perform at next week's NFL draft.
The league announced its musical acts for the second and third days of the draft, which is back on the road after being all virtual last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A massive stage has been constructed near FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to host the three-day event from April 29 to May 1.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will give his “State of the State" speech to a joint session of the General Assembly next week.
Spokespeople for Cooper and top Republican legislative leaders confirmed on Monday that plans are in place for the governor to deliver the biennial address. A resolution inviting Cooper to give the speech at 7 p.m. April 26 in the House chamber also was filed Monday.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A celebrity restaurant inside Atlantic City's leading casino will close in June, both parties announced Monday.
Bobby Flay Steak at the Borgata casino will close on June 30.
The casino and the restaurant's parent company, Bold Food, made the joint announcement in a press release that was short on details.
LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) — A coroner's office in South Carolina is holding its first public memorial service for people who died but their bodies weren't claimed by family or friends or were too poor to afford a burial.
The Lexington County Coroner's Office will honor 25 people at its indigent burial service at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Lexington County Cemetery, Coroner Margaret Fisher said.
DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' Agriculture Director said plans are underway for a state fair in Southern Illinois after the annual event in Du Quoin was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — At least 19 Kentucky state workers received thousands of dollars of unemployment aid while still on the job, according to a state inspector general report.
The report found that from April to May of 2020, the unemployment workers employees knew that as full-time workers, they would not qualify for UI benefits, but filed false claims anyway, collecting more than $54,000.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's unemployment rate fell sharply in March, state officials announced on Friday, as the number of people holding jobs grew by over 11,000 compared to the month before.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 5.7% in February to 5.2%, the state Commerce Department said in a news release, marking sixth consecutive month of declines. The national rate was 6% in March.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Jury trials have resumed at Pima County Superior Court, but they are different from the way they were before the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.
Instead of sitting together in a jury box, jurors now sit throughout the courtroom behind plexiglass partitions.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that it’s one of several new measures aimed at allowing trials to happen safely.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state House on Thursday overwhelmingly backed legislation that would give additional state tax breaks to businesses that took federal loans to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Senate isn't yet fully on board with the idea, which comes with a hefty price tag.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8% in March, far below the national rate of 6%, according to a report the state Department of Workforce Development released Thursday.
The state added 12,900 total non-farm and 11,100 private-sector jobs from February to March.
Wisconsin is still down 129,000 jobs from March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic seized the state. The state unemployment rate then was 3.3%.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's beleaguered crime labs improved their turnaround times on DNA and ballistics testing last year but took longer to complete drug and tool mark analysis, according to a state Justice Department report released Thursday.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Starting next month, large grocery stores in Olympia will be required to pay workers an additional $4 an hour in pay, the latest city in the state to enact such a requirement during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
PHOENIX (AP) — Legislation approved with bipartisan support among state lawmakers and signed into law by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey conforms Arizona's tax code to federal income tax changes that include steps providing pandemic relief.
The bill signed late Wednesday by Ducey was approved unanimously by the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday.
UnitedHealth's first-quarter profit jumped about 44%, and the nation's largest health insurer also hiked its 2021 outlook despite expecting more hits from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company said Thursday that the performance of its Optum division was particularly strong.
UnitedHealth raised its full-year profit forecast to adjusted earnings of $18.10 to $18.60 per share, up from an outlook of $17.75 to $18.25 per share that it debuted in December.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Kings of Leon will help kick off NFL draft activities on a stage close to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later this month.
The Grammy Award-winning band will open the festivities on April 29 with a performance as the draft returns to a more normal state after being held virtually in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday there are lessons to be drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic — from a greater sense of shared responsibility to the outsized role social media plays in a crisis.
The first-term Democrat, who intends to run for reelection in 2023 in a state Republicans have dominated in recent years, downplayed questions about the political consequences of restrictions he imposed across many aspects of life in Kentucky to slow the virus’s spread.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed tax breaks to internet companies that provide broadband access to underserved areas, saying in her veto letter it would cost schools millions while failing to provide up to par service.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel paid tribute to the chief executive of international drug maker Pfizer Inc. during its Independence Day celebrations Wednesday, thanking him for a partnership that has helped the country carry out one of the world's most successful coronavirus vaccination campaigns.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House on Wednesday passed a proposal to require all schools in the state to offer in-person classes five days a week starting the last week in April and continue to offer them next school year no matter what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House also removed from the Senate resolution a requirement that teachers be paid extra if they have to teach students both in the classroom and online.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican congressional nominee and New Mexico state Sen. Mark Moores is staking out a campaign platform based on support for the oil and natural gas industry, robust police funding and taxation issues, ahead of a rapid-fire special election.
SAO PAULO (AP) — Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac will donate 50,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL in a bid to protect players for upcoming tournaments.
CONMEBOL announced Tuesday that the jabs will be used to inoculate players ahead of the Copa America in June and for other regional tournaments.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia public transit systems from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads are looking for a path forward after losing riders and revenue during the pandemic. Some transit systems have been harder hit than others.
“We are serving a market of essential workers that can’t stay home; they have to use our service,” said Greater Richmond Transit Co. CEO Julie Timm during a recent presentation.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Women seeking an abortion pill will not be required to visit a doctor's office or clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. health officials said Tuesday in the latest reversal in an ongoing legal battle over the medication.
The Food and Drug Administration announced the policy change a day earlier in a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one of several medical groups that has sued over the restriction put in place under the Trump administration.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The CEO of Washington state's largest psychiatric hospital announced Tuesday that he plans to retire next month.
David Holt spent five years at the embattled Western State Hospital, serving as CEO for three of those years, including during the COVID-19 pandemic when 213 workers and 116 patients caught the virus. Three patients died.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey will boost supplemental nutrition assistance benefits for 231,000 households, about half of those already getting the federally funded help, by $95 a month under a Biden administration rule, the state said Tuesday.
The change comes with about a $17 million price tag, according to the state Human Services Department. The program is financed by the federal government but run by the state.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is proposing a $100 million, two-week sales tax holiday on restaurants, bars and groceries, as his administration looks to divvy up hundreds of millions of dollars in extra spending due to better-than-expected revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, the Republican's finance team presented a budget amendment to his $42 billion spending plan in front of lawmakers.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The International Organization for Migration says the death toll has risen to 42 after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti early Monday.
Sixteen children were among the dead, spokeswoman Yvonne Ndege said. She said 14 people survived.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee labor officials are continuing to offer free online courses to help people without work during the COVID-19 pandemic advance their skills.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development says the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative will run through the end of 2021. The department says thousands of Tennesseans took advantage of the program last year.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A memorial to enslaved workers who built the University of Virginia was officially dedicated Saturday, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled its official unveiling.
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — When Aaron Cannon and his family began looking to relocate last year, they had their eye out West.
The idea of moving to Wyoming was appealing for several reasons, but leaving the changing social and cultural tension in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, became the deciding factor for the move.
“I thought, ‘I can’t live with the crazies anymore, enough of this stuff,’” Cannon said.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — One year after the Honduran government paid $47 million for seven mobile hospitals to expand its bed space for the COVID-19 pandemic, only two are in use and two former government officials involved in their purchase are jailed on fraud charges.
The purchase of the hospitals — shipping containers outfitted for medical use that can be connected and configured to operate as field hospitals — has became Honduras’ greatest pandemic-related scandal.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has become the latest state to soon allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a background check and training after Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday signed the measure into law.
“I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their (Second Amendment) rights,” said Lee, a Republican approaching his reelection campaign for 2022, in a tweet.
As the COVID-19 pandemic killed more than a half-million Americans, it also quietly inflamed what was before it one of the country’s greatest public health crises: addiction.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A man who pleaded no contest to deliberate homicide for killing a woman at a Great Falls motel in 2017 faces at least 20 years in prison, the Great Falls Tribune reported Thursday.
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. (AP) — Larrecsa Cox steered past the used tire shop, where a young man had collapsed a few days before, the syringe he’d used to shoot heroin still clenched in his fist.
She wound toward his house in the hills outside of town. The man had been revived by paramedics, and Cox leads a team with a mission of finding every overdose survivor to save them from the next one.
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a half million Americans have taken advantage of the Biden administration's special health insurance sign-up window keyed to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced Wednesday in anticipation that even more consumers will gain coverage in the coming months.
LONDON (AP) — Ryanair, Europe’s biggest discount airline, says earnings for the current fiscal year are likely to be “close to breakeven” as continued travel restrictions delay its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pessimistic outlook came as the airline said Wednesday that the airline industry is facing a delayed recovery going into the peak summer season because of the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines in the European Union.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Tuesday that will allow people to use the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to vote by absentee in any election, primary or referendum held before May 20.
The Democrat's latest order related to the public health and civil preparedness emergencies is similar to the order that allowed voters to use absentee ballots during the elections in 2020.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's prime minister says some lockdown restrictions will be lifted Wednesday after more than a quarter of the population has been inoculated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
In a video on Facebook Tuesday, Viktor Orban said a vaccination benchmark of 2.5 million first shots had been reached, a condition for the start of a gradual reopening that will loosen several pandemic restrictions.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature's budget committee questioned the state superintendent of schools on Tuesday about when schools will fully reopen to all students in person and whether more than $2.2 billion in federally allocated money is going to the right districts.
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has approved $4.7 billion in state aid for national carrier Air France as it struggles through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision the French government welcomed as “good news.”
In return for the aid, the carrier has promised to make slots available to competitors at the busy Orly airport in Paris. “The public support will come with strings attached,” said European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee phone line that offers callers mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic has added an option to talk via text messaging.
The state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services says the Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress now lets people call or text the line at 888-642-7886 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central time daily.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Department of Human Services has announced that it will once again partner with The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to provide support to help keep the state's child care agencies open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a news release, $15 million in grant assistance will be available to licensed agencies. The grants will be used for cleaning and sanitation, and operating expenses.
The Vancouver Canucks' season being brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic makes players and coaches elsewhere in the all-Canadian North Division uneasy for that team and their own.
Sixteen of the 22 players on the Canucks’ active roster were on the NHL’s protocol list with Sunday’s addition of forward Marc Michaelis and defenseman Jalen Chatfield. A member of the coaching staff had also been affected.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of people protested state and federal marijuana laws Saturday in Ann Arbor, despite public health orders limiting gatherings.
SAO PAULO (AP) — Key members of Brazil's government on Wednesday celebrated the anniversary of the country's 1964 military coup, which launched a 21-year dictatorship that saw hundreds of people killed and thousands tortured.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is quietly ramping up assistance to the Palestinians after former President Donald Trump cut off nearly all aid. Since taking office with a pledge to reverse many of Trump's Israeli-Palestinian decisions, the administration has allocated nearly $100 million for the Palestinians, only a small portion of which has been publicized.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The World Trade Organization is raising its estimate for the rebound in global trade in goods but warning that the COVID-19 pandemic still poses the greatest threat to a recovery that is being hampered by lagging vaccinations, regional disparities and weakness in the service industry.
Demand in North America should be a major factor driving rebounding demand for goods thanks to the large fiscal relief and stimulus spending by the U.S. government.