10 things you need to know today: April 27, 2021
Census data gives a slight boost to GOP strongholds in South, the U.S. will share its AstraZeneca vaccine with the world, and more
Census data nudges congressional power to South, West
The U.S. Census Bureau released 2020 data on Monday showing three key states that voted for former President Donald Trump — Texas, North Carolina, and Florida — picking up seats in Congress, while two big states that backed President Biden — California and New York — will lose one each. Texas stands to gain two seats, and Florida and North Carolina, along with Montana, Oregon, and Colorado, will get one seat each. California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will each lose one seat. The shift from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West "will shape Congress for the next decade," according to The New York Times. The adjustments also will boost Republican strongholds in the Electoral College. Overall, the Census showed the population growth rate was the slowest since the 1930s.
Biden administration sharing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine abroad
The United States will send other countries its supply of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, the White House said Monday. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has not been granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration yet, and White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said the country doesn't need the supply given "the strong portfolio of vaccines" already available in the U.S. The Biden administration previously shared about 4 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with neighboring Canada and Mexico. Now the Biden administration plans to send doses to other countries desperate to step up their vaccination campaigns. About 10 million doses have been produced and await FDA quality inspection. Another 50 million doses should be ready by June.
DOJ to investigate Louisville police in wake of Breonna Taylor killing
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday that the Justice Department will investigate the Louisville, Kentucky, police department to determine whether it "engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force." The decision to investigate Louisville police came a year after officers in the department fatally shot Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old medical technician and aspiring nurse who was sleeping in her apartment when detectives burst in with a no-knock warrant. Taylor's boyfriend fired a gun, fearing intruders, and police responded with a hail of bullets that killed Taylor. The announcement of the Louisville investigation came days after Garland announced a similar inquiry in Minneapolis, where former police officer Derek Chauvin was just convicted of murder for the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Most unvaccinated Americans don't want Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Only 22 percent of unvaccinated Americans are willing to get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot, even after a temporary pause on its use was lifted last week, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday. The pause came after the vaccine was linked to extremely rare but serious blood clots, although regulators said the vaccine's benefits outweighed the risks. Some of those who don't want Johnson & Johnson's vaccine simply aren't willing to get vaccinated, but far more consider the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be safe. The U.S. has more than enough supply of the other two approved vaccines for everyone who wants to be vaccinated. Still, the Johnson & Johnson hesitancy complicates the push to get as many people vaccinated as possible, because it is easier to store and requires just one shot, which is helpful because some people have failed to get their second Pfizer or Moderna dose.
Supreme Court to hear first major gun-rights case since 2010
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider an appeal of a lower court ruling upholding a restrictive gun-permit law in New York. The case, which is expected to be argued this fall, centers on the extent to which the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense outside their home. Most states let gun owners carry firearms in public, but New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island impose some restrictions. A sharply divided Supreme Court in 2008 and 2010 overturned handgun bans in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, redefining gun rights by firmly establishing the right to bear arms as an individual right. Since then, the court's conservative majority has expanded from 5-4 to 6-3.
Russia orders Navalny's offices to suspend operations
Russia on Monday ordered imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny's offices to shut down pending a court ruling on whether Navalny's operation should be outlawed as an extremist group. Navalny's Foundation for Fighting Corruption and his network of regional offices already has been targeted in raids, with some of the imprisoned opposition leader's associates also facing criminal charges. If Navalny's team is branded as an extremist group, his allies could face lengthy prison terms, human rights advocates said. "Tens of thousands of peaceful activists and the staff of Alexei Navalny's organizations are in grave danger — if their organizations are deemed 'extremist,' they will be at imminent risk of criminal prosecution," Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International's Moscow Office Director, said earlier this month.
Family attorney: Police shooting of Black man in N.C. was 'execution'
The fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, was an "execution," his family's attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said Monday after watching a 20-second video clip from a North Carolina sheriff's deputy's body camera, CNN reported. Members of Brown's family said he was shot as he sat in his car with his hands on the steering wheel. Peaceful protesters have called for the Sheriff's Department to release body camera video. The sheriff has said he wants to release the video publicly but needs a court order. Elizabeth City authorities have declared a state of emergency in case of civil unrest after the public sees video showing deputies fatally shooting Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, when they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant.
Apple to build $1 billion hub in North Carolina
Apple announced Monday that it would build a $1 billion campus and engineering hub in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, metropolitan area, its first in the East. The project, part of five-year series of investments, is expected to create at least 3,000 jobs in machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering, and other specialties. The positions are part of the iPhone maker's promise to add 20,000 U.S. jobs by 2026. The company currently has 95,000 employees in the U.S. Several other big tech companies already have hubs in the Raleigh-Durham area, including International Business Machines' Red Hat, Cisco Systems, and Epic Games, as the industry expands beyond California's Silicon Valley to find skilled workers in other parts of the country.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom to face recall election
A Republican-led effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, state officials announced Monday. Voters who signed petitions have a window of time to withdraw their signatures, and then state officials will determine the cost of an election, which could take three months. Once that's finished, Secretary of State Shirley Weber can certify the recall and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) will call an election within 60 to 80 days. If the courts don't step in to block the election, voters will decide whether Newsom should be removed, and, if so, who should replace him. Several Republicans have said they will run against him, including former Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Caitlyn Jenner. Recent polls show that 56 percent of voters are against the recall.
Oscars ratings plunge to record low
An average of 9.85 million viewers tuned in to watch the Oscars on TV Sunday night, down from 23.6 million viewers in 2020, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported on Monday. The preliminary Nielsen ratings were the lowest in history for the Academy Awards ceremony broadcast, and the first time the Oscars have failed to draw more than 10 million viewers. Last year's audience was the previous all-time low. The Oscars had more than 40 million viewers as recently as 2014. This year's ceremony had been widely expected to be disappointing, as other awards shows also have seen ratings plunge during the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Golden Globes had 6.9 million viewers, down from more than 18 million a year earlier.