Published: 10:04 pm, Sat. Apr. 17th, 2021Updated: 9:04 pm
Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot
WASHINGTON (AP) — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but leaving more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves.
Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.
The U.S. cleared the 50% mark just a day after the reported global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million, according to totals compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though the actual number is believed to be significantly higher.
The country’s vaccination rate, at 61.6 doses administered per 100 people, currently falls behind Israel, which leads among countries with at least 5 million people with a rate of 119.2. The U.S. also trails the United Arab Emirates, Chile and the United Kingdom, which is vaccinating at a rate of 62 doses per 100 people, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.
The vaccine campaign offered hope in places like Nashville, Tennessee, where the Music City Center bustled Sunday with vaccine seekers. High demand for appointment-only shots at the convention center has leveled off enough that walk-ins will be welcome starting this week.
Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The former employee who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally bought the two rifles used in the attack despite red flag laws designed to prevent such purchases, police said.
A trace of the two guns found by investigators at the scene revealed that suspect Brandon Scott Hole, 19, of Indianapolis, legally bought the rifles last July and September, officials with the Indianapolis police said Saturday.
The police did not say where Hole bought what they described as “assault rifles,” citing the ongoing investigation, but said he was seen using both rifles during the shooting.
Details about the weapons’ make, model and caliber won’t be released until the investigation is complete, said Genae Cook, a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Authorities said Hole shot and killed eight people, four of them from the city’s Sikh community, at the FedEx facility late Thursday before killing himself.
AP PHOTOS: Photographers reflect on single shot of pandemic
ROME (AP) — The images show the intimacy of husbands and wives saying goodbye for the last time, or reuniting after months apart. They honor the courage of nurses, funeral workers and clerics who risked their own health to do their jobs. They witness life slipping away, and being snatched back from death.
To mark the milestone of 3 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, The Associated Press asked 15 photographers in 13 countries to pick the single image they shot that affected them the most, and explain why.
Their selections document the staggering human toll as COVID-19 robbed millions of their lives, and millions more of their basic freedoms and day-to-day routines over the past year. But their reflections tell a deeper story, guiding the viewer to see and understand a once-in-a-century pandemic through the eyes of people who had the privilege and horror of witnessing it up close.
Just like their subjects, the AP photographers were terrified they might get infected and bring the virus home. Just like their subjects, they remain haunted by what they saw. Just like their subjects, they found moments of hope.
Alexander Zemlianichenko still stays in touch with the Russian Orthodox priest who made house calls to bless the sick and dying in Moscow, saying accompanying him was “an experience that transformed me, helping overcome my own fear” of the virus.
Australia-New Zealand travel bubble brings relief, elation
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Elation marked the opening Monday of a long-anticipated travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.
The start of quarantine-free travel was a relief for families who have been separated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as to struggling tourist operators. It marked the first, tentative steps toward what both countries hope will become a gradual reopening to the rest of the world.
The idea of a bubble between Australia and New Zealand had been talked about for months but faced setbacks because of several small virus outbreaks in both countries, which were eventually stamped out.
To mark the occasion, Wellington International Airport painted an enormous welcome sign near its main runway and Air New Zealand ordered some 24,000 bottles of sparkling wine, offering a complimentary glass to adult passengers.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Operating Officer Carrie Hurihanganui said the carrier had previously been running just two or three flights a day between the two countries but that jumped to 30 flights on Monday carrying 5,200 passengers.
Dynamic duo: CeCe Winans, Carrie Underwood own ACM Awards
NEW YORK (AP) — CeCe Winans and Carrie Underwood brought the Academy of Country Music Awards to church on Sunday.
The gospel legend and country superstar joined forces for a top-notch, powerful performance that was the show’s highlight, though the event is still on for two more hours.
Underwood performed songs from her recent gospel hymns album “My Savior,” and she and Winans blended their voices like angels onstage. Underwood kicked off the performance with “Amazing Grace” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” then Winans joined in, matching her strong vocal performance.
Collaborative moments were a theme during the awards show.
Miranda Lambert, the most decorated artist in the history of the ACM Awards, kicked off the show alongside rock-pop singer Elle King for a fun, energetic performance of their new duet. Lambert and King wore matching outfits — an all-black ensemble with pink fringe hanging from Lambert’s leather jacket and blue from King’s — and sang the anthemic track “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.
Police: Suspect on the run in fatal shooting of 3 in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A manhunt was underway Sunday for a former sheriff’s deputy wanted in the fatal shooting of three people in Austin, Texas, as an official said it wasn’t known if the suspect was still in the city.
Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said those who live near where the shooting happened late Sunday morning no longer had to shelter in place, but he said they should “remain vigilant.” He said officials were transitioning the search for Stephen Broderick, 41, from that area to a “fugitive search.”
“The victims were all known to this suspect.,” Chacon said. “At this point, we do not think this individual is out there targeting random people to shoot. That does not mean he is not dangerous.“
Earlier in the day, nearby residents had been asked to shelter in place and to call their neighbors to check on them. Chacon had said earlier that officials were concerned that Broderick “might possibly take a hostage and be himself sheltered somewhere waiting for us to leave.”
Chacon said Broderick is 5 feet, 7 inches (1.7 meters) tall and Black. He was wearing a gray hoodie, sunglasses and a baseball cap. Chacon said police do not know if he’s in a vehicle or on foot.
GOP White House hopefuls move forward as Trump considers run
WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than three months after former President Donald Trump left the White House, the race to succeed him atop the Republican Party is already beginning.
Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has launched an aggressive schedule, visiting states that will play a pivotal role in the 2024 primaries, and he has signed a contract with Fox News Channel. Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, has started a political advocacy group, finalized a book deal and later this month will give his first speech since leaving office in South Carolina. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been courting donors, including in Trump’s backyard, with a prominent speaking slot before the former president at a GOP fundraising retreat dinner this month at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort where Trump now lives.
Trump ended his presidency with such a firm grip on Republican voters that party leaders fretted he would freeze the field of potential 2024 candidates, delaying preparations as he teased another run. Instead, many Republicans with national ambitions are openly laying the groundwork for campaigns as Trump continues to mull his own plans.
They’re raising money, making hires and working to bolster their name recognition. The moves reflect both the fervor in the party to reclaim the White House and the reality that mounting a modern presidential campaign is a yearslong endeavor.
“You build the ark before it rains,” said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush’s presidential 2016 campaign, among others. “They’re going to do the things they need to do if he decides not to run.”
Search for 9 missing from capsized boat in Gulf on 6th day
PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) — For a sixth day, rescue crews returned Sunday to a capsized lift boat in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, looking for nine crew members who have not been found, the Coast Guard said.
Officials have released little information about their continuous search in the murky seas surrounding the capsized Seacor Power lift boat some 8 miles (13 kilometers) off the coast since announcing divers found two bodies inside the ship Friday night.
Six people were rescued alive after the boat capsized Tuesday in a storm. Four bodies have been found — one Wednesday, one Thursday and two on Friday.
Families of the missing crew members haven’t given up that maybe they found an air pocket or are still alive.
“We have hope,” Marion Cuyler wrote in a text to a reporter.
Some Jan. 6 defendants try to use journalism as riot defense
The Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January created a trove of self-incriminating evidence, thoroughly documenting their actions and words in videos and social media posts. Now some of the camera-toting people in the crowd are claiming they were only there to record history as journalists, not to join a deadly insurrection.
It’s unlikely that any of the self-proclaimed journalists can mount a viable defense on the First Amendment’s free speech grounds, experts say. They face long odds if video captured them acting more like rioters than impartial observers. But as the internet has broadened and blurred the definition of a journalist, some appear intent on trying.
At least eight defendants charged in the Jan. 6 riot have identified themselves as a journalist or a documentary filmmaker, including three people arrested this month, according to an Associated Press review of court records in nearly 400 federal cases.
The insurrection led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer, and there were hundreds of injuries. Some rioters manhandled and menaced the reporters and photographers who are credentialed to cover Congress and were trying to cover the mayhem that day. A group of AP journalists had photographic equipment stolen and destroyed outside the building.
One defendant, Shawn Witzemann, told authorities he was inside the Capitol during the riot as part of his work in livestreaming video at protests and has since argued that he was there as a journalist. That explanation did not sway the FBI. The plumber from Farmington, New Mexico, is charged with joining in demonstrating in the Capitol while Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump.
Key moments at Derek Chauvin’s trial in George Floyd’s death
The three weeks of testimony at a former Minneapolis police officer’s trial in the death of George Floyd were filled with indelible moments, ranging from witnesses breaking down as they relived what they saw to a clinical account by one expert pinpointing on video the instant he believes Floyd died.
Derek Chauvin, 45, is on trial for murder and manslaughter after pinning Floyd to the pavement last May for what prosecutors said was 9 1/2 minutes. The case is expected to head to the jury Monday after closing arguments.
Here’s a look back at some of the most compelling moments of the trial:
‘DISBELIEF AND GUILT’
Jurors heard testimony from several witnesses to Floyd’s arrest, and many of them grew emotional as they recalled their frustration and desperation at not being able to help Floyd.