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VOL. 45 | NO. 5 | Friday, January 29, 2021

Getting more shots into more arms

Meharry, state navigate logistics, old suspicions

When Meharry Medical College associate professor of microbiology and immunology Donald Alcendor isn’t in the classroom or lab he’s visiting barbershops, salons and small businesses, teaching informally about clinical trials at Meharry for a new COVID-19 vaccine.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial at Meharry

Meharry Medical College is seeking 300 to 400 participants to participate in Phase 3 clinical trials for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. It’s interested in enrolling persons at high risk for infection, age 65 and older, especially African American, LatinX, American Indian/Alaska natives and people with higher than usual risk of catching COVID-19 on the job (such as corrections workers and law enforcement officers). However, all persons age 18 and up are welcome to volunteer.


Return to ballpark, bars worth reliving childhood phobia

I’m no fan of needles. This aversion was perhaps most vividly demonstrated the time my grandmother and two aunts had to pry me out of the car after I saw that we were parked at the Jackson County, Mississippi, health department. Once extracted from the car, I tried to climb a tree to escape my fate.

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Coffee & Connect. Join fellow members of Gallatin Young Professionals for coffee and networking. Black Press #003, 1188 Long Hollow Pike. Wednesday, 8-9 a.m. Fee: Free event with members purchasing their own coffee. Information

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Inexcusable construction flaw or a convenient scapegoat?

Many houses are selling for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars more than list price. Others are not selling. There’s usually a fatal flaw when a house remains unsold in this market. Sometimes they are hidden, but they are there.


Top Davidson County residential sales for December 2020

Top residential real estate sales, December 2020, for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

US long-term mortgage rates slip; 30-year at 2.73%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates slipped this week as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.


Adams and Reese taps new partner in charge

Edward H. L. Playfair has been appointed partner in charge of Adams and Reese’s Nashville office.


HCA, new partner to produce PPE

Nashville’s HCA Healthcare has announced it has entered into a new joint venture business with A Plus International Inc. to expand access to personal protective equipment by manufacturing surgical and procedure masks in the United States.


Top automotive technology revealed at CES 2021

The atmosphere at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, held virtually for the first time due to the pandemic, struck a different tone than in years past. Without hordes of tech-hungry onlookers jockeying for position through packed convention center halls, automakers appeared more reserved in their proclamations for the future.


Your tax refund is likely shrinking this year unless you know about this fix

Families battered by the pandemic recession might soon discover the tax refunds they’re counting on are dramatically smaller – or that they actually owe income tax.


In the new normal, you might never meet your boss face to face

Before the pandemic, your manager probably had more of a say in where you were day to day.


Three things you must know if you’re new to gig work

Shutdowns, layoffs and salary cuts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have left millions of Americans searching for new sources of income. Those who’ve recently turned to gig work may be weeks away from a financial surprise in the form of unexpected tax bills and insurance coverage fine print.


Lea hires David Raih as Vanderbilt's offensive coordinator

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea has hired David Raih as his offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.


Singer Morgan Wallen suspended from label after racial slur

NASHVILLE (AP) — Country star Morgan Wallen has been suspended indefinitely from his label and seen his music pulled by radio stations and streaming services Wednesday after video surfaced of him shouting a racial slur.


Tennessee Higher Education Commission picks House as leader

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has picked the agency's top deputy to become its executive director.


Amazon announces $200M facility in Alcoa

NASHVILLE (AP) — Amazon announced Wednesday that it will invest $200 million in East Tennessee to build a new warehouse distribution site that will result in 800 jobs.

Hagerty assigned to Senate banking, foreign relations panels

NASHVILLE (AP) — Freshman U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty has drawn assignments on committees related to banking, foreign relations and the federal budget.


Beer, spirits maker Diageo gives $10M to Black colleges

NEW YORK (AP) — British-based beer and spirits maker Diageo is giving a combined $10 million to 25 historically Black colleges and universities across the United States, continuing an upswell of giving to the institutions following last summer's racial justice protests.


Daimler to spin off trucks, change name to Mercedes-Benz

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German automaker Daimler will split itself into two independent companies by spinning off its truck and bus division, a move the company said would give both the freedom to operate more nimbly in a fast-changing environment focussed on zero-emission vehicles and software.

TVA plans electric vehicle charging network across Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) — The nation's largest public utility is working with Tennessee to develop a statewide system of public electric vehicle charging stations that officials say will make the state a leader in electric transportation.


Buttigieg says Transportation Dept will push 'bold' thinking

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg, sworn in Wednesday as transportation secretary, urged his 55,000 employees to embrace "imaginative, bold, forward thinking" as the Transportation Department embarks on a vital mission to rebuild America's infrastructure and foster equality.


Biden EPA nominee vows to preserve resources, boost economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency says he learned the importance of preserving the outdoors while hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather in rural North Carolina.

Germany says it beat 2020 goal to cut greenhouse emissions

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's economy minister says the country beat its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% last year compared to 1990 levels.

Court rules France failed to respect its climate change goal

PARIS (AP) — A court on Wednesday ruled that the French state failed to take sufficient action to fight climate change in a case brought by a group of nongovernmental organizations.


Microsoft backs Australian plan to make Google pay for news

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Microsoft said on Wednesday it supports Australia's plans to make the biggest digital platforms pay for news and would help small businesses transfer their advertising to Bing if Google quits the country.


Justice Dept. drops Yale admissions discrimination lawsuit

WASHINGTON (AP) — In another reversal of Trump-era policy, the Biden administration on Wednesday dropped its discrimination lawsuit against Yale University that alleged the Ivy League school was illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants.

Supreme Court sides with Germany in Nazi-era art dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is making it harder for a multimillion-dollar lawsuit involving centuries-old religious artworks obtained by the Nazis from Jewish art dealers to continue in U.S. courts.

High court puts off wall, asylum cases at Biden's request

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to requests from the Biden administration to put off arguments in two cases involving the U.S.-Mexico border wall and asylum-seekers because President Joe Biden has taken steps to change Trump administration policies that had been challenged in court.


Study finds COVID-19 vaccine might reduce virus transmission

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine does more than prevent people from falling seriously ill — it appears to reduce transmission of the virus and offers strong protection for three months on just a single dose, researchers said Wednesday in an encouraging turn in the campaign to suppress the outbreak.

Fauci warns against Super Bowl parties to avoid virus spread

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's top infectious disease expert doesn't want the Super Bowl to turn into a super spreader.

UK says new study vindicates delaying 2nd virus vaccine shot

LONDON (AP) — Britain's health chief said Wednesday that a new study suggesting that a single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine provides a high level of protection for 12 weeks supports the government's strategy of delaying the second shot so it can protect more people quickly with a first dose.

GSK, CureVac to make COVID-19 vaccines aimed at new variants

LONDON (AP) — Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said Wednesday it will work with a German biopharmaceutical company to develop new vaccines targeting emerging variants of COVID-19 amid concerns that some mutations are making the virus harder to combat.

WHO team visits Wuhan virus lab at center of speculation

WUHAN, China (AP) — World Health Organization investigators on Wednesday visited a research center in the Chinese city of Wuhan that has been the subject of speculation about the origins of the coronavirus, with one member saying they'd intended to meet key staff and press them on critical issues.

Denmark to develop digital passport proving vaccinations

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark's government said Wednesday it is joining forces with businesses to develop a digital passport that would show whether people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, allowing them to travel and help ease restrictions on public life.


Major stock indexes end with modest gains on Wall Street

Stocks closed modestly higher on Wall Street Wednesday as investors turn their focus to some strong earnings reports from Big Tech companies and hopes for getting more economic stimulus passed in Washington.

Why US hiring could rebound faster than expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring has weakened for six straight months. Nearly 10 million jobs remain lost since the coronavirus struck. And this week, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that employment won't regain its pre-pandemic level until 2024.

Service sector operates at highest level in almost two years

WASHINGTON (AP) — The services sector, where most Americans work, operated in January at the highest level in almost two years.

Biden flexible on who gets aid, tells lawmakers to 'go big'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday he's "not married" to an absolute number on his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan but Congress needs to "act fast" on relief for the pandemic and the economic crisis.

GameStop's stupefying stock rise doesn't hide its reality

NEW YORK (AP) — Behind GameStop's stock surge is the grim reality of its prospects: The video game retailer is floundering even as the industry around it is booming.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos might step down without stepping away

Even after stepping aside as CEO, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos appears likely to keep identifying new frontiers for the world's dominant e-commerce company. His successor, meanwhile, gets to deal with escalating efforts to curtail its power.


Takeaways from legal filings for Trump's impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — The legal sparring around Donald Trump's impeachment trial is underway, with briefs filed this week laying out radically different positions ahead of next week's Senate trial.

White House offers 'full support' for Trump-era Space Force

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday offered "full support" for Space Force, a day after the president's chief spokesperson provoked a backlash with seemingly dismissive comments about the Trump-era addition to the U.S. military.

Schumer, McConnell end standoff to organize 50-50 Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced an agreement Wednesday with Republicans to organize the evenly split chamber, ending a weekslong standoff that prevented the new Democratic majority from setting up some operations and soured relations at the start of the congressional session.

Biden signs immigration orders as Congress awaits more

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed a second spate of orders to undo his predecessor's immigration policies, demonstrating the powers of the White House and its limitations without support from Congress.

Divided House GOP faces decisions on Reps. Greene, Cheney

WASHINGTON (AP) — Divided House Republicans approached showdowns Wednesday over Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Liz Cheney, who've antagonized opposing wings of a GOP struggling to define itself without Donald Trump in the White House.


Stamkos, Gourde lead Lightning to 5-2 victory over Predators

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Steven Stamkos' goal made him the franchise leader in power-play points, Yanni Gourde scored twice and the Tampa Bay Lightning remained perfect on home ice with a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Monday night.


Dolly Parton on Super Bowl commercial and COVID-19 vaccine

NEW YORK (AP) — Dolly Parton has been singing about everyday office employees working "9 to 5" for over 40 years, but now the country icon is singing about entrepreneurs working "5 to 9" to pursue their dreams after hours.

Stax Museum offers virtual tours, online concert in February

MEMPHIS (AP) — The Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Tennessee is offering virtual "field trips" and an online concert in honor of Black History Month.


Belmont University announces new president

NASHVILLE (AP) — Belmont University's Board of Trustees on Monday announced that L. Gregory Jones will become the new president of the university starting June 1.


290 children enroll in Tennessee disabled insurance program

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials say there are now more than 290 enrollees in a new program offering coverage for children living at home with significant disabilities.


Gallatin man charged in last month's US Capitol riot

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Gallatin resident was arrested Monday in connection with the Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., last month, a federal official said.


Biden asks high court to put off wall, asylum cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to put off arguments over two controversial Trump administration policies that have been challenged in court now that President Joe Biden has taken steps to unwind them.


Tesla to fix touch screens, ending spat with US regulators

DETROIT (AP) — After initially refusing a request from U.S. safety regulators, Tesla has now agreed to recall about 135,000 vehicles because the large touch screens on the console can go dark.


Agriculture secretary nominee Vilsack endorses biofuels push

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Vilsack, President Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of agriculture, pledged Tuesday to focus on climate change initiatives and work to address racial inequities in agricultural assistance programs.


Biden boosting vaccine allotments, financing for virus costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's administration announced Tuesday that it is moving to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, freeing up more doses for states and beginning to distribute them to retail pharmacies next week. The push comes amid new urgency to speed vaccinations to prevent the spread of potentially more serious strains of the virus that has killed more than 445,000 Americans.

France: No AstraZeneca vaccine for people older than 65

PARIS (AP) — France will only administer the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to people under age 65, President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday after the government's health advisory body cited a lack of sufficient data about its effectiveness in older people.

Study: Russia's Sputnik V vaccine appears safe, effective

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian scientists say the country's Sputnik V vaccine appears safe and effective against COVID-19, according to early results of an advanced study published in a British medical journal.

China arrests suspects in fake COVID-19 vaccine ring

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese police have arrested more than 80 suspected members of a criminal group that was manufacturing and selling fake COVID-19 vaccines, including to other countries.


Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, will step down as CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon and turned into an online shopping behemoth, is stepping down as the company's CEO, a role he's had for nearly 30 years.

Biden, Yellen say GOP virus aid too small, Democrats push on

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden told Senate Democrats on a private call Tuesday that a Republican alternative to his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan  is insufficient as he urged lawmakers to boldly and swiftly confront the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis.

Big Tech leads stocks to broad gains; GameStop collapses

Big Tech companies and banks helped power a broad rally on Wall Street Tuesday, though shares in GameStop and other recent high-flying stocks hyped by online traders plunged.

It's not just GameStop worrying Wall Street about a bubble

NEW YORK (AP) — Now, even the pros on Wall Street are asking if the stock market has shot too high.

Hit by pandemic, oil giants Exxon, BP post huge 2020 losses

DALLAS (AP) — Oil giants Exxon and BP reported staggering losses for 2020 on Tuesday as the pandemic crushed energy demand and undercut oil prices.

Uber will bring the booze after acquiring Drizly for $1.1B

NEW YORK (AP) — Uber is bringing the booze.

Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney dies at age 86

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Sweeney, who spent 14 years steering the AFL-CIO through a time of declining union membership and rising internal dissent, has died. He was 86.

Online shopping surge delivers record revenue for UPS

NEW YORK (AP) — A surge in online shopping helped UPS post record revenue during the last three months of 2020.

Google antes up $2.6M to settle pay, job discrimination case

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Google will pay $2.6 million to more than 5,500 employees and past job applicants to resolve allegations that the internet giant discriminated against female engineers and Asians in California and Washington state.

Google shutters internal Stadia game studio

NEW YORK (AP) — Google is closing the internal studio tasked with developing games for its Stadia cloud-gaming service, a move that raises questions about the future of the Stadia service itself.

Euro economy burdened by pandemic, seen lagging US and China

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European economy shrank 0.7% in the last three months of 2020 as businesses were hit by a new round of lockdowns aimed at containing a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Siemens Energy to shed 7,800 jobs in cost-cutting drive

BERLIN (AP) — Energy technology company Siemens Energy said Tuesday that it plans to shed 7,800 jobs worldwide by 2025 as part of a drive to cut costs.


Pentagon chief purges defense boards; Trump loyalists out

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered hundreds of Pentagon advisory board members to resign this month as part of a broad review of the panels, essentially purging several dozen last-minute appointments under the Trump administration.

House Dems make case for conviction; Trump denies charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump endangered the lives of all members of Congress when he aimed a mob of supporters "like a loaded cannon" at the U.S. Capitol, House Democrats said Tuesday in making their most detailed case yet for why the former president should be convicted and permanently barred from office. Trump denied the allegations through his lawyers and called the trial unconstitutional.

Trump lawyer: Impeachment case 'undemocratic,' ill-advised

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are using the upcoming Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump as a political "weapon" to bar the former president from seeking office again and are pursuing a case that is "undemocratic" and unconstitutional, one of his lawyers says.

Biden expands quick bid to undo Trump's immigration policies

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration on Tuesday announced steps to address harm to thousands of families that were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding efforts to quickly undo relentless changes to immigration policy over the last four years.

Senate confirms Mayorkas as Biden's homeland security chief

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday as President Joe Biden's homeland security secretary, the first Latino to fill a post that will have a central role in the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, a sweeping Russia-linked cyber hack and domestic extremism.

Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg won Senate approval Tuesday as transportation secretary, the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post. He'll be tasked with advancing President Joe Biden's ambitious agenda of rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and fighting climate change.

McConnell praises Cheney, hits Marjorie Taylor Greene

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has praised embattled No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney as "a leader with deep convictions and courage," even as he's criticized the "looney lies" of a hard-right House GOP freshman as a "cancer" on the party.

Myanmar, Russia pose early tests for Biden's foreign policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A military coup in Myanmar and a mass crackdown on dissidents in Russia are presenting early tests for the Biden administration as it tries to reestablish American primacy as a worldwide pro-democracy leader.


Vanderbilt provost to be president at Wake Forest University

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest University has chosen Vanderbilt University provost and vice chancellor Susan Wente as its new president.


Australian prime minister says Bing could replace Google

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister said on Monday that Microsoft is confident it can fill the void if Google carries out its threat to remove its search engine from Australia.


US construction spending increases 1% in December led by housing

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending rose a moderate 1% in December as the number of new homes offset a sustained weakness in nonresidential construction.


Tennessee to offer virus vaccine to those 70 and older

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee health officials announced Monday that the state will soon begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations to residents aged 70 and older.


Pandemic's deadliest month in US ends with signs of progress

The deadliest month yet of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. drew to a close with certain signs of progress: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are plummeting, while vaccinations are picking up speed.

WHO team in Wuhan visits disease control centers

WUHAN, China (AP) — A World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic visited two disease control centers on Monday that had an early hand in managing the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

UK orders more Valneva vaccine to prepare for repeated jabs

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. has ordered another 40 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the French company Valneva as the government prepares for the likelihood that repeated vaccinations will be needed to keep the virus in check.

Germany seeks ways to give its vaccine campaign momentum

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel and German state governors were planning to talk Monday with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry on ways to beef up the country's sluggish vaccination campaign.


Wall Street recovers some of last week's drop, silver climbs

Stocks notched broad gains on Wall Street Monday, clawing back some of their losses following the market's worst weekly loss since October.

Biden and GOP senators offer competing COVID-19 relief plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and a group of 10 Senate Republicans have offered competing proposals to help the United States respond to the coronavirus pandemic and provide economic relief to businesses and families.

GameStop saga makes Wall Street an issue for Biden team

WASHINGTON (AP) — The drama surrounding the trading in shares of GameStop, AMC Entertainment, Blackberry and other beaten-down companies has suddenly thrust Wall Street near the top of a crowded list of issues that President Joe Biden's regulatory team needs to tackle early in its term.

Robinhood raises $3.4B from investors amid surge in trading

Popular online trading platform Robinhood said Monday that it has lined up $3.4 billion to help meet its funding requirements amid a spike in trading on Wall Street fueled by small investors driving up shares in GameStop and other stocks.

Treasury borrowing drops but could rise with new COVID aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Monday that it plans to borrow $274 billion in the current January-March quarter, down 54.1% from the prior three-month period.

CBO projects 4.6% growth in Biden's first year, jobs lag

The U.S. economy is projected to grow at a 4.6% annual rate this year, but employment isn't expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

US factories grew in January, but at a slower pace

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — American factories grew in January, but at slower pace than December.

Nintendo profits soar as people play games during pandemic

TOKYO (AP) — Nintendo Co. reported Monday that its profit for the first three fiscal quarters nearly doubled as people around the world stayed home for the pandemic and turned to playing games.

Europe's jobless rate steady, but doesn't tell whole story

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The unemployment rate was steady at 8.3% in December in the 19 countries that use the euro, as government support programs aimed at getting the economy through the pandemic continue to hold down layoffs — for now.


Biden threatens sanctions on Myanmar after military coup

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is threatening to slap new sanctions on Myanmar after a coup that saw the military arrest the civilian leaders of its government.

In early going, Biden floods the zone with decrees

WASHINGTON (AP) — Modern American presidents have found that a good way to get off to a fast start in office is to issue decrees like an ancient king.

GOP Rep Kinzinger starts PAC to resist party's Trump embrace

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, is launching a political action committee to push back against a House GOP leadership team and party that he says have become too closely aligned to the former president.

Trump names 2 lawyers to impeachment defense team

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump announced a new impeachment legal defense team just one day after it was revealed that he had parted ways with an earlier set of attorneys with just over a week to go before his Senate trial.

Report: Hate groups in decline, migrate to online networks

During one of the most politically divisive years in recent memory, the number of active hate groups in the U.S. actually declined as far-right extremists migrated further to online networks, reflecting a splintering of white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that are more difficult to track.


Vrabel stays in-house for Titans' new coordinators

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel has promoted from within, moving Todd Downing to offensive coordinator on Friday.


Country Hall of Famer, actor Kris Kristofferson has retired

NASHVILLE (AP) — Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson has announced his retirement after five decades and named a manager for his estate.


Tennessee OKs 2 more operators for online-only sportsbooks

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee panel approved licenses Friday for two more sportsbook operators under the state's online-only sports betting law.

Hagerty fills Senate team with 13 ex-Trump admin staffers

NASHVILLE (AP) — Freshman Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty has picked more than a dozen former members of the Trump administration to join his Washington office, including a chief of staff who also worked for former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and former Sen. Bob Corker.


US contract signings to buy homes hits record for December

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes declined slightly for the fourth straight month, but it was still a record high for December.


Judge blocks Trump rule to limit health studies in EPA regs

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has blocked a last-minute rule issued by the Trump administration to limit what evidence the Environmental Protection Agency may consider as it regulates pollutants to protect public health.


Fauci sees vaccination for kids by late spring or the summer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's top infectious disease expert said Friday he hopes to see children being vaccinated starting in the next few months. It's a needed step to securing widespread immunity to the coronavirus.

EU regulator authorizes AstraZeneca vaccine for all adults

BERLIN (AP) — Regulators authorized AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for use in adults throughout the European Union on Friday, amid criticism the bloc is not moving fast enough to vaccinate its population.

CDC: Scaling up surveillance of virus variants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new director of the Centers for Disease Control says officials have "scaled up" their surveillance of new coronavirus variants in the United States.

J&J 1-dose shot prevents COVID-19, but less than some others

Johnson & Johnson's long-awaited vaccine appears to protect against COVID-19 with just one shot – not as strong as some two-shot rivals but still potentially helpful for a world in dire need of more doses.

Role of race in US vaccine rollout gets put to the test

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The role that race should play in deciding who gets priority for the COVID-19 vaccine was put to the test Thursday in Oregon, but people of color won't be the specific focus in the next phase of the state's rollout as tensions around equity and access to the shots emerge nationwide.

A city's problematic vaccine rollout raises larger questions

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When Philadelphia began getting its first batches of COVID-19 vaccines, it looked to partner with someone who could get a mass vaccination site up and running quickly.


GameStop soars again; Wall Street bends under the pressure

Another bout of selling gripped the U.S. stock market Friday, as anxiety mounts over whether the frenzy behind a swift, meteoric rise in GameStop and a handful of other stocks will damage Wall Street overall.

Biden warns of growing cost of delay on $1.9T econ aid plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden warned Friday of a steep and growing "cost of inaction" on his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan as the White House searched for "creative" ways to win public support for a package that is getting a cold shoulder from Senate Republicans.

US consumer spending fell 0.2% in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers slowed their spending by 0.2% in December, cutting back for a second straight month in a worrisome sign for an economy struggling under the weight of a still out-of-control pandemic.

US employment costs rise modestly in fourth quarter

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Wages and benefits for U.S. workers rose in the last quarter of the year, putting all of 2020 in somewhat of a normal range as the pandemic continued to rankle the economy.

Caterpillar 4Q sales slip, but results top Wall Street

Caterpillar's fourth-quarter sales dropped 15% as an unchecked pandemic continued to sap demand for big machinery, but the damage was not as bad as most had expected.

A new stage: Dr Martens valued at $5 billion in share sale

LONDON (AP) — Dr. Martens boots have been valued by rebellious youth through the decades. From Wednesday, the maker of the famous air-cushioned boots with the distinctive yellow stitching will be valued at some $5 billion when it sells shares publicly.


FBI: Pipe bombs at RNC, DNC were planted night before riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two pipe bombs left at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees, discovered just before thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, were actually placed the night before, federal officials said Friday.

Capitol Police bolstering travel security for lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Capitol Police are stepping up security at Washington-area transportation hubs and taking other steps to bolster travel security for lawmakers as Congress continues to react to this month's deadly assault on the Capitol.

Police tighten Congress security in era of rising threats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House's chief law enforcement officer is tightening security for traveling lawmakers as Congress reassesses safety in an era when threats against members were surging even before Donald Trump's supporters attacked the Capitol.

Former Obama aide to be tapped as Iran envoy, angering hawks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top national security aide to former President Barack Obama will be tapped as U.S. envoy for Iran, a senior State Department official said late Thursday.

AP FACT CHECK: Biden's fuzzy math on 1 million new auto jobs

DETROIT (AP) — Casting his climate policy as a jobs plan, President Joe Biden left out important context and used fuzzy math when he announced sweeping new green initiatives that he says will boost the U.S. economy with the creation of 1 million new auto jobs.


RB Eric Gray latest ex-Tennessee player to pick Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Tennessee running back Eric Gray has announced on Twitter that he will play for Oklahoma, becoming the third Volunteers' player to choose the Sooners in the past few weeks.


Duchene leads Predators over Blackhawks 2-1 in shootout

NASHVILLE (AP) — For Matt Duchene, confidence was the difference.


Ravens's Minter is Vandy's new defensive coordinator

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt has hired Jesse Minter from the NFL's Baltimore Ravens as defensive coordinator.

Florida hands Vanderbilt 6th straight loss, 78-71

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tre Mann scored 15 points, Colin Castleton added 13 and Florida beat Vanderbilt 78-71 on Wednesday night for its third straight victory.

Vanderbilt adds Gerald 'Smoke' Dixon as director of scouting

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt has hired former Alabama defensive back and NFL scout Gerald "Smoke" Dixon as director of scouting.


Tennessee sees 'modest' boost in COVID-19 vaccine allocation

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee health officials say they are receiving a modest increase in their weekly vaccine allocation, up from an average of 80,000 doses to about 93,000 for the coming week.

Tennessee, T-Mobile to provide wireless devices to students

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's Department of Education announced Wednesday it was launching a new initiative to provide wireless internet to students across the state.


U.S. whiskey bolstered by liquor store sales in 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — American whiskey absorbed some setbacks but showed resilience in the face of pandemic-related clampdowns on bars and restaurants as liquor sales benefited from enduring demand for a good stiff drink.


New home sales rise in December after sharp November drop

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Sales of new homes rose 1.6% in December after a big decline in November that was even worse than previously thought.


Amazon asks for block on shareholder hate speech proposal

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle-based Amazon.com, Inc. has asked federal regulators to block multiple shareholder proposals addressing criticism of company stances on curbing hate speech, diversity in hiring, workplace conditions and surveillance technologies.

Panel overturns 4 Facebook content takedowns in first ruling

LONDON (AP) — Facebook's quasi-independent oversight board issued its first rulings on Thursday, overturning four out of five decisions by the social network to take down questionable content.


Apple CEO lambasts tech rivals ahead of privacy update

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook lambasted social media companies, though without naming them, accusing them of prioritizing user attention and data collection at the cost of allowing and even rewarding dangerous conspiracies, extremism and polarization.


Airlines close books on rotten 2020 and, so far, 2021 is grim

DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines lost $3.1 billion last year, its first full-year loss since Richard Nixon was president and gasoline sold for about 36 cents a gallon with no extra charge for the attendant who cleaned your windshield.

American Airlines lost $8.9 billion in a year of pandemic

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines lost $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter as people stayed put in the pandemic, sending the carrier's revenue plunging by nearly two-thirds from the same period a year ago.


General Motors sets goal of going largely electric by 2035

General Motors has set a goal of making the vast majority of the vehicles it produces electric by 2035, and the entire company carbon neutral, including operations, five years after that.

Tesla posts 1st annual profit but misses analysts' estimates

Riding a sales surge amid a global pandemic, Tesla Inc. on Wednesday reported that it posted its first annual net profit in 2020.


Biden: 'We can't wait any longer' to address climate crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst of climate change, President Joe Biden signed executive orders to transform the nation's heavily fossil-fuel powered economy into a clean-burning one, pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.


Biden opens sign-up window for uninsured in time of COVID-19

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered government health insurance markets to reopen for a special sign-up window, offering uninsured Americans a haven as the spread of COVID-19 remains dangerously high and vaccines aren't yet widely available.

Biden rescinds abortion restrictions on US foreign aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday rescinded a regulation that barred U.S. foreign aid from being used to perform or promote abortions. His decision, while expected, was cheered by abortion-choice advocates and some humanitarian groups and denounced by anti-abortion groups.


WHO Europe: Vaccine production delays are a real issue

GENEVA (AP) — National tensions are erupting over slow coronavirus vaccine rollouts and production delay issues are real, but "no one is safe until everyone is safe," the European chief for the World Health Organization said Thursday.

EXPLAINER: Why it's hard to make vaccines, boost supplies

With demand for COVID-19 vaccines outpacing the world's supplies, a frustrated public and policymakers want to know: How can we get more? A lot more. Right away.

German draft recommends vaccine only for ages 18-64

BERLIN (AP) — A draft recommendation from Germany's vaccination advisory committee calls for offering the AstraZeneca vaccine only to people aged 18-64 for now, citing what it says is insufficient data to judge its effectiveness for older people.

WHO team in Wuhan departs quarantine for COVID origins study

WUHAN, China (AP) — A World Health Organization team emerged from quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to start field work in a fact-finding mission on the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK PM Johnson faces criticism over Scotland trip in lockdown

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced accusations Thursday that he is not abiding by the country's lockdown rules as he visited Scotland to laud the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the United Kingdom.

Vaccine factory inspected amid EU dispute with AstraZeneca

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian health authorities announced Thursday they have inspected a pharmaceutical factory in Belgium to find out whether expected delays in the deliveries of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine are due to production issues.


Stocks claw back some lost ground; GameStop swings wildly

Major stock indexes clawed back some of the ground they lost a day earlier in their biggest loss since October.

EXPLAINER: Why GameStop's stock surge is shaking Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — It's not just you. What's going on with GameStop's stock doesn't make sense to a lot of people.

US economy shrank 3.5% in 2020 after growing 4% last quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stuck in the grip of a viral pandemic, the U.S. economy grew at a 4% annual rate in the final three months of 2020 and shrank last year by the largest amount in 74 years.

US jobless claims drop; still at 847,000 as pandemic rages

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell but remained at a historically high 847,000 last week, a sign that layoffs keep coming as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

Trading sites restrict stock trading in GameStop, other cos.

NEW YORK (AP) — Robinhood and other online trading platforms are moving to restrict trading in GameStop and other stocks that have soared recently due to rabid buying by smaller investors.

Virus aid package tests whether Biden, Congress can deliver

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a sweeping national rescue plan, President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package  presents a first political test — of his new administration, of Democratic control of Congress and of the role of Republicans in a post-Trump political landscape.

Samsung reports profit jump driven by strong chip demand

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday its operating profit for the last quarter rose by more than 26% as it capped off a robust business year where its dual strength in parts and finished products allowed it to thrive amid the pandemic.

Apple posts big quarter on fast sales start for iPhone 12

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Apple's delayed launch of its latest iPhones unleashed a holiday buying frenzy that propelled sales of the trendsetting company's most popular product to its fastest start in years.

Facebook Q4 results soar; Zuckerberg hits Apple over privacy

Facebook capped a tumultuous 2020 with soaring earnings in the final quarter, but the company forecast challenges in 2021 that include a coming privacy update by Apple that could limit the social network's ad targeting capabilities.


Christianity on display at Capitol riot sparks new dialogue

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Christian imagery and rhetoric on view during this month's Capitol insurrection are sparking renewed debate about the societal effects of melding Christian faith with an exclusionary breed of nationalism.

Pelosi denounces GOP leaders over Georgia lawmaker's posts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi intensified pressure Thursday on House Republican leaders for their handling of a controversial GOP freshman, denouncing them for placing a lawmaker who Pelosi says has "mocked the killing of little children" on the chamber's education committee.

Biden seen likely to keep Space Force, a Trump favorite

WASHINGTON (AP) — To the last moments of his presidency, Donald Trump trumpeted Space Force as a creation for the ages. And while President Joe Biden has quickly undone other Trump initiatives, the space-faring service seems likely to survive, even if the new administration pushes it lower on the list of defense priorities.

Biden pauses Trump policies as Blinken takes diplomatic helm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration paused or put under review a wide swath of Trump-era foreign policies as America's new top diplomat took the helm of the State Department.

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