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Thursday's Mini-Report, 3.18.21

Today's edition of quick hits.


Today's edition of quick hits:

* The latest out of Atlanta: "Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, is charged with eight counts of murder in connection with the Tuesday evening shootings. He blamed his actions on sex addiction and denied to police that race was a motivation. Four people were killed at two spas in Atlanta, Gold Star and Aromatherapy Spa. The other four were fatally shot at Young's Asian Massage in Cherokee County, about 30 miles away."

* In related news: "A Georgia sheriff's spokesperson who came under fire Wednesday for statements he made about the suspect in the Atlanta-area spa shootings, which killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, previously shared an anti-Asian post on Facebook."

* White House: "President Biden and Vice President Harris plan to travel to Atlanta on Friday, where they will meet with leaders of the city's Asian American community in the aftermath of a deadly shooting spree there this week that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent. Meanwhile, Biden issued a proclamation for U.S. flags on federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff through sunset Monday to mark the massacre in Georgia."

* Vaccine news: "The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is safe to use, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday after a number of countries, including Germany, France and Italy, suspended it over concerns about blood clots in some recipients."

* Related news: "The Biden administration is working to finalize plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Mexico and Canada, the White House said Thursday. About 2.5 million doses would go to Mexico and 1.5 million doses would go to Canada as U.S. regulators wait on the company to provide further data on the vaccine's safety and effectiveness."

* An important hearing: "Several Asian American members of Congress implored Republicans on Thursday to tone down their rhetoric in the wake of attacks on the Asian American community, with one Democratic lawmaker accusing a Republican of placing a 'bull's-eye' on them with his comments about China."

* Cabinet news: "The Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary on Thursday as the U.S. aims to contain Covid-19 and achieve a semblance of normal life by summer. Becerra, California's attorney general, won approval by a narrow 50-49 margin in a Senate evenly split by party."

* And speaking of the president's team: "Without opposition, the Senate confirmed veteran diplomat William Burns as CIA director on Thursday, giving him control of the nation's premier spy agency as the U.S. government confronts threats from China, Russia, Iran and elsewhere. The approval, by voice vote, came soon after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, lifted a hold he had placed on the nomination."

* A striking start: "The U.S. government has issued approximately 90 million stimulus payments worth $242 billion, more than half of the estimated total relief authorized under the latest Covid-19 relief package, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday."

* An interesting duo for a delegation: "National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Thursday that the Biden administration is sending Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a close ally of the president, to Ethiopia to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed."

* A big Jan. 6 arrest: "Federal authorities have charged a Florida man who was caught on video attacking police officers with a fire extinguisher while wearing an American flag jacket bearing the name of former President Donald Trump."

* Update on a Mississippi story we've been following: "City of Jackson officials lifted all boil water notices Wednesday afternoon, exactly a month after February winter storms caused massive water outages across the city's water system."

See you tomorrow.