December 3, 2021
Currently: 75° — Complete forecast
Published Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 | 9 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 | 10:17 a.m.
While all eyes are on the new and little-understood omicron variant, the delta form of the coronavirus isn’t finished wreaking havoc in the U.S., sending record numbers of patients to the hospital in some states, especially in the Midwest and New England. “Omicron is a spark that’s on the horizon. Delta variant is the fire that’s here today,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine, where a record 334 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 as of midweek. The U.S. recorded its first known omicron infection on Wednesday, in a fully vaccinated person who had returned to California from South Africa, where the variant was first identified just over a week ago.
PARIS (AP) — The global initiative to share coronavirus vaccines fairly already scaled back its pledge to the world’s poor once. Now, to meet even that limited promise, COVAX would have to deliver more than a million doses every hour until the end of the year in some of the world’s most challenging places. That seems unlikely: Gavi, the vaccine alliance that helps run COVAX, warned in internal documents that a substantial number of doses might only show up in late 2022 or even 2023 as wealthy countries drag out their donations while locking in contracts for new shots by the hundreds of millions.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court heard arguments in which it was asked to overturn a nationwide right to abortion that has existed for nearly 50 years. The fate of the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States and its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe, probably won’t be known until late June. But during nearly two hours of arguments on Wednesday, conservative justices indicated they had questions about the court’s current abortion framework. The justices were being asked to overrule the two seminal decisions in the context of a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Migrants seeking to enter the United States will again have to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings, as the Biden administration reluctantly announced plans Thursday to comply with a court order and accept conditions set out by Mexico for resuming the Trump-era policy. Mexico’s foreign relations secretary said Mexico will allow returns, beginning next week, in light of U.S. concessions “for humanitarian reasons and for temporary stays.” Revival of the “Remain in Mexico” policy comes under a court order even as the Biden administration maneuvers to end it in a way that survives legal scrutiny.
The Marine Corps demolition specialist was worried — about America, and about the civil war he feared would follow the presidential election. And so, block by block, he stole 13 pounds (6 kilograms) of C4 plastic explosives from the training ranges of Camp Lejeune. “The riots, talk about seizing guns, I saw this country moving towards a scary unknown future,” the sergeant would later write, in a seven-page statement to military investigators. “I had one thing on my mind and one thing only, I am protecting my family and my constitutional rights.” His crime might have gone undetected, but authorities caught a lucky break in 2018 as they investigated yet another theft from Lejeune, the massive base on coastal North Carolina.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times was charged Thursday with murder in an encounter that led to racial justice protests, yet is still largely unexplained and involved no body camera or dash cam footage. An attorney for the family of Goodson, who was Black, also announced a federal civil rights lawsuit against the now-retired white deputy who shot him, Jason Meade, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, alleging wrongful death and excessive use of force. The fatal shooting of Goodson took place in Columbus on Dec. 4 while Meade, a 17-year member of the sheriff’s office, was finishing an unsuccessful search for a fugitive as part of his work for a U.S.
OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The parents of a teenager accused of killing four students at a Michigan school were summoned to discuss his behavior just a few hours before the violence, a sheriff said. The disclosure was made Wednesday as Ethan Crumbley, 15, was charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism for a shooting Tuesday at Oxford High School in Oakland County. “He deliberately brought the handgun that day with the intent to murder as many students as he could,” assistant prosecutor Marc Keast said while successfully arguing for no bail for Crumbley and a transfer to jail from a juvenile facility.
“Some say the world will end in fire,” wrote the poet Robert Frost — and for much of 2021, Associated Press photographers captured scenes of a world ablaze, amid rumblings of ruin. In New Delhi, a man sprints amid the funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims — too many fires, too much heat, too many victims. On a beach near the village of Limni, Greece, the horizon is lit by the flames of wildfires raging across the eastern Mediterranean. And at La Palma in the Canary Islands, the inferno is in the Cumbre Vieja volcano. But more than 10,000 million cubic meters of ash turn the world into a negative, with black ash taking the place of white snow.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Hours into Major League Baseball’s first work stoppage in 26 years, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the union’s proposal for greater free agency and wider salary arbitration would damage small-market teams. Owners locked out players at 12:01 a.m. Thursday following the expiration of the sport’s five-year collective bargaining agreement. Since 1976, players can become free agents after six seasons of major league service. The players’ association proposed starting with the 2023-24 offseason that it changes to six years or five years and age 30.5, with the age in the second option dropping to 29.5 starting in 2025-26. MLB would keep existing provision or change eligibility to age 29.5.
What’s the status of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the U.S.? It’s on hold indefinitely because of legal challenges, but employers can still require the shots. To control the spread of COVID-19, President Joe Biden previously said businesses with 100 or more employees would need to require COVID-19 vaccination or have workers get tested weekly for the virus. The rule was to take effect Jan. 4, affecting about 84 million workers nationwide. But soon after the rule was issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it faced multiple legal challenges from businesses, conservative groups and Republican attorneys general that said the agency doesn’t have the authority to mandate vaccines.
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