10 things you need to know today: April 26, 2021
India sets coronavirus infection record for 5th day, Nomadland sweeps top Oscars, and more
India sets coronavirus infection record for 5th day
India reported a global record for new coronavirus cases for the fifth straight day on Monday, with 352,991 new confirmed infections over a 24-hour period. The United States is moving immediately to send India raw materials it needs to produce COVID-19 vaccines, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said Sunday. The Biden administration also is sending India medical equipment, protective gear, and other equipment the country needs to combat a record wave of coronavirus infections. "Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need," President Biden tweeted Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious disease expert, said the U.S. was considering sending millions of doses of surplus AstraZeneca vaccine to India.
Nomadland sweeps top 2021 Oscars
Nomadland dominated Sunday's 93rd Academy Awards, with the film winning Best Picture, and star Frances McDormand taking home the Best Actress statuette — her third. Nomadland's Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color, and only the second woman, to be named Best Director. In a surprise upset, Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor for his performance in The Father; the award was expected to go to the late Chadwick Boseman for his turn in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The night's other winners included Judas and the Black Messiah's Daniel Kaluuya, who won Best Supporting Actor; Minari's Youn Yuh-jung, who won Best Supporting Actress; and Emerald Fennell, who won Best Original Screenplay for Promising Young Woman.
Manchin calls for smaller infrastructure bill
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key moderate Democrat, said Sunday he would support a pared down infrastructure plan, suggesting parts of President Biden's proposed $2 trillion package should be split into separate legislation. "I do think they should be separated, because, when you start putting so much into one bill, which we call an omnibus bill, makes it very, very difficult for the public to understand," Manchin said on CNN's State of the Union. Manchin, whose support is critical for Democrats in an evenly divided Senate, also said he did not support trying to pass the package without Republican support through the process known as budget reconciliation that let Democrats pass their coronavirus relief package with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes they would have needed to get past a Republican filibuster. Manchin also said that a smaller infrastructure plan proposed by Republicans was "a good start."
Armenia praises Biden for calling mass killings genocide
Armenia on Sunday celebrated President Biden's decision to call the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 a genocide. Armenian President Armen Sarkissian tweeted that Biden had opened "new prospects for U.S.-Armenian relations" and "makes this world a better place!" Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sent Biden a letter praising him for his "principled position." Biden became the first U.S. president to formally refer to the killings as genocide since former President Ronald Reagan, who later walked back the comments under pressure from Turkey. Turkey has denounced Biden's remarks. Its foreign minister, Sedat Onal, told U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield that Biden's comments caused "wounds in ties that will be hard to repair."
N.C. sheriff to ask judge to release video of fatal shooting
Pasquotank, North Carolina, Sheriff Tommy Wooten said Sunday that his office would ask a judge to release body camera footage of deputies fatally shooting a Black man, Andrew Brown Jr., last week, provided state authorities say that won't compromise their investigation. The shooting occurred as deputies served warrants in Elizabeth City. Seven deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave. The Rev. William Barber II, a North Carolina civil rights leader, said a "warrant is not a license to kill." The Brown family's lawyer said the father of seven was shot in the back as he ran away. "We know people want answers," Wooten said. "We ask for your patience and support as we work to do the right thing."
EU to let vaccinated American tourists visit this summer
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday in an interview with The New York Times that fully vaccinated American tourists would be able to visit the European Union this summer. "The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines," von der Leyen said. "This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union." The EU shut down nonessential travel from most countries just over a year ago in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. and EU authorities are conducting advanced talks on the use of vaccine certificates to confirm visitors' immunity. Diplomats from European countries that depend heavily on tourism have argued that progress on vaccinations, rather than current caseloads, should be used to determine whether a country is "safe."
5 million Americans failed to get 2nd COVID-19 shot
More than five million people in the United States have failed to get their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released on Sunday. That amounts to nearly eight percent of the 140 million people who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. Some people have reported that they showed up for their second shots at pharmacies, such as Walgreens, but were told the pharmacy was out of the appropriate vaccine. "I'm very worried, because you need that second dose," said University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel.
NYC police search for suspect in attack against Chinese-American man
New York City police searched Sunday for a man shown in surveillance video brutally attacking a 61-year-old Chinese-American man in East Harlem. The victim was identified by news outlets as Yao Pan Ma, a former restaurant worker who lost his job in the pandemic. He was collecting cans to make some money when the attacker knocked him down from behind, then kicked him repeatedly in the head. The victim was hospitalized in critical but stable condition. The assault was the latest in a rising number of recent violent hate crimes targeting Asian Americans. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Sunday he was "sickened to learn of yet another bigoted act of violence against an Asian-American man," and vowed to have the state hate crimes task force offer assistance in the investigation.
Michigan COVID-19 wave hits people in their 30s and 40s hard
As Michigan faces the most dangerous coronavirus outbreak in the United States, more and more younger and middle-aged adults are winding up in hospitals with the most severe cases of COVID-19. Michigan has recorded 91,000 new COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, the most of any state in the nation and more than California and Texas combined. Roughly twice as many of the coronavirus patients being hospitalized in the new wave are in their 30s and 40s than were during last fall's peak, according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. One reason for the shift is a vaccination push to cover the most vulnerable. A majority of Michigan residents 65 or older have been fully vaccinated. But another reason is that the outbreak is being driven by the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant of the virus, which is spreading rapidly in younger age groups.
Myanmar activists urge people to stop paying bills as protests continue
Activists in Myanmar called for people in the country to stop paying power bills and agricultural loans on Monday to increase pressure on the military junta to restore democracy. They also urged parents to keep their children home from school. Protesters continued scattered rallies against the military on Sunday, a day after Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reached an agreement at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia seeking to end the crisis started by the Feb. 1 coup. The junta chief rejected calls to release political prisoners, including the leader of the ousted civilian government, Aung San Suu Kyi. An activist monitoring group said that 751 people had been killed by security forces in an ongoing crackdown on protesters.