Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 |
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Mayor: Teacher shot by 6-year-old ‘red flag for the country’
A Virginia teacher who was critically injured when she was was shot by a 6-year-old student in Newport News is showing signs of improvement. Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones said Saturday that the teacher’s condition is “trending in a positive direction” as she remains hospitalized. Authorities say the boy shot and wounded the teacher with a handgun in a first-grade classroom on Friday at Richneck Elementary School. Police Chief Steve Drew said the shooting was not accidental and was part of an altercation. No students were injured. Jones declined to release additional details about what led to the altercation. He also would not comment on how the boy got access to the gun or who owns the weapon.
On eve of Biden’s border visit, migrants fear new rules
President Joe Biden will arrive Sunday in El Paso for his first, politically thorny visit to the southern border. Migrant advocates there describe an increasing “climate of fear” since the president last week announced new immigration restrictions. Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans will be expelled to Mexico if they enter the U.S. illegally. It’s a major expansion of a pandemic-era immigration policy called Title 42. The new rules will also include offering humanitarian parole for up to 30,000 people a month from those four countries if they apply online and find a financial sponsor.
Health experts warily eye XBB.1.5, the latest omicron subvariant
The coronavirus continues to impress virus experts with its swift evolution. A young version, XBB.1.5, has quickly been spreading in the United States over the past few weeks. As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that it made up 72% of new cases in the Northeast and 27.6% of cases across the country. The new subvariant has a potent array of mutations that appear to help it evade immune defenses and improve its ability to invade cells. “It is the most transmissible variant that has been detected yet,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 technical lead at the World Health Organization.
Animal sedative mixed with fentanyl brings fresh horror to US drug zones
In Philadelphia, and increasingly in drug hot zones nationwide, an animal tranquilizer called xylazine — known by street names including “tranq,” “tranq dope” and “zombie drug” — is being used to bulk up illicit fentanyl, making its impact even more devastating. Xylazine causes wounds that erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar; untreated, they can lead to amputation. It induces a blackout stupor for hours, and users crave more when they awaken. A study published in June detected xylazine in the drug supply at least 36 states. But xylazine’s true prevalence is unknown. Hospitals don’t test for it. Some state medical examiners don’t routinely do so, either.
USDA approves first vaccine for honeybees
A biotech company in Georgia has received conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the first vaccine for honeybees, a move scientists say could help pave the way for controlling a range of viruses and pests that have decimated the global population. It is the first vaccine approved for any insect in the United States. Dalan Animal Health, based in Athens, Georgia, developed a prophylactic vaccine that protects honeybees from American foulbrood, an aggressive bacterium that can spread quickly from hive to hive. Previous treatments included burning infected colonies and all associated equipment, or using antibiotics.
Ukraine hails US military aid as cease-fire said to falter
Ukraine’s president is praising the United States for including tank-killing vehicles in its latest multibillion-dollar package of military aid. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Bradley armored vehicles are “exactly what is needed” for Ukrainian troops locked in combat against Russian forces. Ukrainian authorities said that a Moscow-declared temporary truce for Orthodox Christmas appeared to have been ignored by some of Russia’s forces pressing ahead with the nearly 11-month invasion. Continued Russian shelling and assaults were reported in the fiercely contested Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense in Britain said Saturday in its daily readout on the invasion that “fighting has continued at a routine level.”
Travelers rush to take advantage of China reopening
After two years of separation from his wife in mainland China, Hong Kong resident Cheung Seng-bun made sure he was among the first to cross the border following the reopening of crossing points. The ability of residents of the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city to cross over is one of the most visible signs of China’s easing of border restrictions on Sunday, with travelers arriving from abroad also no longer required to undergo quarantine. “I’m hurrying to get back to her,” Cheung told The Associated Press as he prepared to cross at Lok Ma Chau station. Travelers, however, are still required to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 48 hours — a requirement China has protested when imposed by other countries.
Southwest’s meltdown could cost It up to $825 million
The meltdown that forced Southwest Airlines to cancel more than 16,700 holiday flights could cost the carrier between $725 million and $825 million, the airline said Friday. The total represents about as much as the airline earned in the first nine months of last year. Southwest said that it now expects to report a loss in the final three months of 2022. About half of the cost it expects to incur in that quarter relates to revenue lost from the canceled flights. The remaining amount stems from spending on customer reimbursements, the value of loyalty points offered to affected passengers and overtime pay for employees.
By wire sources
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