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National News

New York cinemas reopen, brightening outlook for theaters

NEW YORK (AP) — After growing cobwebs for nearly a year, movie theaters in New York City reopen Friday, returning film titles to Manhattan marquees that had for the last 12 months instead read messages like "Wear a mask" and "We'll be back soon." Shortly after noon at the Angelika Film ...

Biden White House: keeping control of the daily message

WASHINGTON (AP) — No news conference. No Oval Office address. No primetime speech to a joint session of Congress. President Joe Biden is the first executive in four decades to reach this point in his term without holding a formal question and answer session. It reflects a White House media ...

Open spaces, no pharmacies: rural US confronts vaccine void

SURRY, Va. (AP) — When Charlome Pierce searched where her 96-year-old father could get a COVID-19 vaccine in January, she found zero options anywhere near their home in Virginia. The lone medical clinic in Surry County had none, and the last pharmacy in an area with roughly 6,500 residents ...

Biden, Dems prevail as Senate OKs $1.9T virus relief bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — An exhausted Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday as President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies notched a victory they called crucial for hoisting the country out of the pandemic and economic doldrums. After laboring through the night on ...

States easing virus restrictions despite experts’ warnings

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — With the U.S. vaccination drive picking up speed and a third formula on the way, states eager to reopen for business are easing coronavirus restrictions despite warnings from health experts that the outbreak is far from over and that moving too quickly could prolong the ...

Senate confirms Cardona as Biden’s education secretary

The Senate voted Monday to confirm Miguel Cardona as education secretary, clearing his way to lead President Joe Biden's effort to reopen the nation's schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cardona, 45, a former public school teacher who went on to become Connecticut's education chief, was ...

Minimum wage hike all but dead in big COVID relief bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats' hopes of including a minimum wage increase in their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill seemed all but dead Monday as the Senate prepared to debate its own version of the House-passed aid package. Four days after the chamber's parliamentarian said Senate rules ...

‘We turn a blind eye’: Boston’s police remain largely white

BOSTON (AP) — For years, Boston city leaders have vowed to diversify the police department so it looks more like the community it serves. Yet the police force is just as white as it was a decade ago, and huge barriers to diversity remain, advocates say. City officials acknowledge more work ...

Nonprofit leader takes over as National Spelling Bee chief

Breaking from a tradition of being led by former contestants, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has hired a nonprofit leader with no history in the competition as its executive director, signaling a new era for the nearly century-old showcase for the top spellers in the English ...

EXPLAINER: Why rising rates are unsettling Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Yes, it's possible to have too much of a good thing, and that's exactly why stock markets around the world are getting so unsettled. Optimism for an economic revival is surging following a year of coronavirus-induced misery. But expectations for stronger growth — plus the ...

Airline CEOs, Biden officials consider green-fuel breaks

Chief executives of the nation's largest passenger and cargo airlines met with key Biden administration officials Friday to talk about reducing emissions from airplanes and push incentives for lower-carbon aviation fuels. The White House said the meeting with climate adviser Gina McCarthy and ...

Yellen’s encore: Lending economic heft to Biden’s virus plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — On a cold, gray February afternoon, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stepped out of the West Wing wrapped in a puffy black parka and clutching a folder of documents, seemingly oblivious to the Washington custom of having an aide schlep the paperwork. Viewed as an outsider to ...

Ohio is first state to sue Census Bureau over delay in data

Ohio on Thursday became the first state to challenge the U.S. Census Bureau's decision to push back the release of 2020 census figures so more time can be spent on fixing any inaccuracies in the data. The lawsuit filed by Ohio asks a federal judge in Dayton to restore a March 31 deadline for ...

Gambino crime family’s elder Peter Gotti dies in prison

Mobster Peter Gotti, the brother of notorious Gambino crime boss John Gotti, has died while serving a federal prison sentence, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press Thursday. Gotti, 81, died of natural causes while incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, ...

Costco to raise starting hourly wage to $16; end hazard pay

NEW YORK (AP) — Costco will increase its starting wage to $16 an hour, surpassing most of its main competitors. Costco CEO Craig Jelinek announced the increase Thursday at a Senate Budget Committee hearing, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, to examine wages at major companies. Jelinek said the ...

Cat that vanished 15 years ago is reunited with owner

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cat that went astray about 15 years ago has been reunited, older and maybe wiser, with its owner. Brandy, a brown tabby, was reunited Monday afternoon with Charles, who adopted her as a 2-month-old kitten in 2005. "It's amazing. I think it's unbelievable," he said ...

Mormon church gives $20M to help send vaccines globally

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday it has donated $20 million to help a program aimed at distributing coronavirus vaccines to poor countries around the world. The donation from the humanitarian arm of the Utah-based faith is going to UNICEF ...

NYC schools chancellor exits, citing virus’ personal toll

New York City's Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced Friday he will step down, citing the coronavirus pandemic's personal toll on his family. He will be replaced by Bronx Executive Superintendent Meisha Ross Porter, who will become the first Black woman to lead the nation's largest ...

California to spend $28M to help arriving asylum-seekers

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California is freeing up as much as $28 million to help immigrants arriving from Mexico and being released in the U.S. until their court dates, a sharp contrast from other border states that have emerged as foes of President Joe Biden's immigration policies. The funding, ...

4 men convicted in 1993 WTC bombing have had sentences cut

NEW YORK (AP) — Decades after going to prison, some of the men responsible for the World Trade Center bombing that killed six people 28 years ago Friday are still trying to whittle down their onetime life sentences on the remote chance that they could someday be freed. And they are having ...