Virus testing shortages and delays help fuel surge
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The difficulty finding coronavirus test kits in many parts of California and delays in getting results are causing increasing frustration and helping drive the surge of infections. In just two weeks, the number of people in California hospitalized with COVID more than doubled. Delays in getting results — or inability to find a test kit — can mean people with very mild or no symptoms may presume they are not infected and go about their usual routines. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said about 200 California National Guard members are being deployed to testing sites to boost capacity.
AHMAUD ARBERY-GEORGIA TRIAL
Arbery killers get life in prison; no parole for father, son
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Three white men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery have been sentenced to life in prison, with a judge denying any chance of parole for the father and son who armed themselves and initiated the deadly pursuit of the 25-year-old Black man. Greg and Travis McMichael grabbed guns and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after spotting him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick. Neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan joined the pursuit and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun. Bryan was granted a chance of parole, but must first serve at least 30 years in prison. A jury convicted all three defendants of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and attempted false imprisonment in November.
Sheriff: Man with with explosives arrested near Jan. 6 rally
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Florida man with homemade explosive devices was arrested near a Tampa Bay area rally in support of a man jailed in connection with last year’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says 22-year-old Garrett James Smith was arrested early Friday morning. To mark the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Thursday night’s rally was held outside the Pinellas County Jail was in support a man being held on charges of participating in the riot. Gualtieri says Smith was spotted across the street from the rally. He was initially detained on the loitering charge, and deputies reported finding a pipe bomb when they searched his backpack.
Civil rights lawyer, professor Lani Guinier dead at 71
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lani Guinier, a civil rights lawyer and scholar whose nomination by President Bill Clinton to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division was pulled after conservatives criticized her views on correcting racial discrimination, has died. She was 71. Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning says Guinier died Friday. Her cousin, Sherrie Russell-Brown, says the cause was complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. Guinier became the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law when she joined the faculty in 1998.
Strong earthquake shakes remote area in western China
BEIJING (AP) — An overnight earthquake has shaken a sparsely populated area in western China. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The magnitude 6.9 quake struck at 1:45 a.m. in Qinghai province at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). The epicenter was in a mountainous area about 140 kilometers (85 miles) northwest of the provincial capital Xining. Nighttime video posted online by state media showed furniture and ceiling lamps swaying and livestock suddenly standing up and moving in its pen. Photos showed scattered damage to homes including a broken window and wall tiles and a large ceiling section that had fallen.
MARINES-DEADLY TRAINING ACCIDENT
Marine officer blames bad information for sinking tragedy
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A Marine Corps battalion commander has testified that in retrospect he would have halted the exercise that killed nine of his Marines whose amphibious assault vehicle sank off the Southern California coast in 2020. But at the time Lt. Col. Michael J. Regner said his decisions were based in part on what other commanders told him. One commander told him the Marines had completed their swim certifications, though they had not. Regner said he was also assured the aging vehicles they were in had been fixed and were ready for the mission. The government says he ignored red flags. Regner gave his account Friday at a Board of Inquiry that will decide whether he should be considered for discharge.
S. Korea disputes North’s claim of hypersonic missile test
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has dismissed North Korea’s claim to have recently launched a hypersonic missile as an exaggeration, saying it was a normal ballistic missile that could be intercepted. The assessment is certain to anger North Korea. South Korea has previously avoided publicly playing down North Korea’s weapons tests, apparently so as not to aggravate relations. South Korea’s Defense Ministry says it believes North Korea hasn’t acquired the technologies needed to launch a hypersonic weapon. It says North Korea’s claim that the weapon flew 700 kilometers (435 miles) and maneuvered laterally appeared to be an exaggeration aimed at boosting domestic confidence in its missile program.
Former PM tests positive as omicron cases rise in Australia
SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tested positive for COVID-19, as case numbers hit new highs across the country and health officials warned that the real number of cases is likely much higher than testing shows. Turnbull, who was Prime Minister from 2015 to 2018, confirmed on Twitter he was isolating at home after a positive test. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also tested positive a day earlier and is also isolating. Victoria state saw cases double overnight due to a new system that requires people to self-report positive cases identified by home testing.
VOTER ID-NORTH CAROLINA
2 N. Carolina justices won’t step away from voter ID case
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two North Carolina Supreme Court justices have decided they won’t step away from hearing a case that challenges two constitutional amendments, one of which mandates photo voter ID. Associate Justices Phil Berger Jr. and Tamara Barringer wrote Friday that they believe they can be fair and impartial in hearing the lawsuit brought by the state NAACP. Group lawyers had asked last summer that the justices be disqualified. Berger is the son of Senate leader Phil Berger, who is a named defendant. Barringer voted to hold the referendum when she was in the Senate. The rulings should allow the court to take up arguments in the case soon.
2 Republicans to AP: Wisconsin Sen. Johnson to seek 3rd term
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, one of former President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters, has decided to seek reelection to a third term. Two Republicans with knowledge of Johnson’s plan but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that Johnson planned to get in the race as soon as next week. Johnson has put off a decision on whether to run for months, saying there was no rush. But in recent weeks he has indicated that his announcement would be coming soon.
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