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Ladies night: Beyoncé, Swift make history as others win big
3/17/2021 1:41:34 PM

By Mesfin Fekadu   NEW YORK (AP)—Female performers including Beyoncé and Taylor Swift had a record-making night at the 2021 Grammy Awards, a jam-packed but socially distanced show highlighted by live music sorely absent during the pandemic era. Four women won the top four prizes Sunday, including Swift, who became the first female performer to win album of the year three times. Beyoncé—with her 28th win—became the most decorated woman in Grammy history. H.E.R. won song of the year and Billie Eilish picked up her second consecutive record of the...

Record diversity leads Oscar nominations
3/17/2021 1:38:06 PM

By Jake Coyle   NEW YORK (AP)—In a year in which the pandemic shuttered movie theaters for months, Academy Awards nominations went to two female filmmakers for the first time and a historically diverse slate of actors Monday but, ultimately, David Fincher’s “Mank”—a very traditional contender about Hollywood itself—took the lead. Fincher’s “Mank,” a black-and-white, period drama about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, easily topped nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards—delayed two months by...

Extent of COVID-19 vaccine waste remains largely unknown
3/17/2021 1:34:40 PM

By Kimberlee Kruesi   NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—As millions continue to wait their turn for the COVID-19 vaccine, small but steady amounts of the precious doses have gone to waste across the country. It’s a heartbreaking reality that experts acknowledged was always likely to occur. Thousands of shots have been wasted in Tennessee, Florida, Ohio and many other states. The reasons vary from shoddy record-keeping to accidentally trashing hundreds of shots. However, pinning down just how many of the life-saving vials have been tossed remains largely unknown despite assurance...

LA County hospitalizations at lowest point in four months
3/17/2021 1:33:15 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Coronavirus hospitalizations in California's most populous county have slipped below 1,000 for the first time in nearly four months, officials reported Saturday, as case rates also remain low and much of the state prepares for some restrictions to be lifted in the coming days. The number of patients with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County hospitals hit 979, the lowest since Nov. 23, the county health department said. There are 3,250 people hospitalized statewide, a drop of more than 85% since peaking around 22,000 in early January, the state Department of Public...

FEMA to help manage unaccompanied minors at U.S.-Mexico border
3/17/2021 1:31:23 PM

By Darlene Superville   WILMINGTON, Del. (AP)—The Biden administration is turning to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help managing and caring for record numbers of unaccompanied immigrant children who are streaming into the United States by illegally crossing the border with Mexico. FEMA will support a governmentwide effort over the next three months to safely receive, shelter and transfer minor children who arrive alone at the U.S. southwest border, without a parent or other adult, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Saturday. Government...

Golden Globes vows reform amid scrutiny on diversity
3/10/2021 4:48:41 PM

By Lindsey Bahr   HOLLYWOOD—Facing heightened scrutiny arounds its membership and practices, the group behind the Golden Globe Awards says that it is committed to immediate “transformational change” and reforms. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association said in a statement Saturday that it would focus on adding Black and other underrepresented members to its organization in addition to increasing transparency around its operations. The group outlined initial steps that it will take over the next 60 days, including hiring independent experts to audit its bylaws...

Judge tosses suit over ‘race-norming’ in NFL dementia tests
3/10/2021 4:34:56 PM

By Maryclaire Dale   PHILADELPHIA (AP)—A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit that challenged “race-norming” in dementia tests for retired NFL players, a practice that some say makes it harder for Black athletes to show injury and qualify for awards. A hearing had been set for Thursday. The judge instead ordered the NFL and the lead lawyer in the overall $1 billion settlement to resolve the issue through mediation. That process would appear to exclude the Black players who sued. “We are deeply concerned that the Court’s proposed solution...

California approves reopening of ball parks, Disneyland
3/10/2021 4:31:12 PM

By Adam Beam and Kathleen Ronayne   SACRAMENTO (AP)—California has cleared a path for fans to hit the stands at opening-day baseball games and return to Disneyland nearly a year after coronavirus restrictions shuttered major entertainment spots. The state on Friday relaxed guidelines for reopening outdoor venues as a fall and winter surge seemed to be ending, with COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths plummeting and vaccination rates rising. New public health rules would allow live concerts at stadiums and sports arenas to reopen with limited attendance...

California counties don't want Blue Shield's vaccine program
3/10/2021 4:25:32 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Counties across California are increasingly asking to opt out of the state's centralized vaccination program run by Blue Shield, further complicating Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to smooth out what has been a confusing and disjointed rollout of coronavirus vaccines. None of the state's 58 counties have signed contracts with the insurance giant even as the state moved ahead with plans to bring 10 counties in the inland sections of central and Southern California under Blue Shield oversight beginning this week, the Los Angeles Times reported...

Pope weighed Iraq virus risk but believes God will protect
3/10/2021 4:16:54 PM

By Nicole Winfield and Samya Kullab   ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP)—Pope Francis said Monday he weighed the risks of a high-profile trip to Iraq during the coronavirus pandemic, but said he decided to go ahead with it after much prayer and belief that God would look out for the Iraqis who might get exposed. Francis described his decision-making process en route home from Iraq amid concerns that his four-day visit, which featured oftentimes maskless crowds in packed churches, singing—could result in the spread of infections in a country with a fragile health care system...