National News Content

Nearly $400 million headed to Finger Lakes school districts, about half to RCSD

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 4:46pm
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the Rochester-Finger Lakes region will receive $391 million for K-12 education. The money comes from the recent COVID-19 federal stimulus package.

How To Get Trump Voters Vaccinated When Half Say They Don't Plan To

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 4:28pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: There's been a lot of focus on how communities of color feel about COVID-19 vaccines. New polling, including from NPR, shows conservatives are far more likely to say they do not plan to get vaccinated, and that is a problem. NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the push to persuade people who voted for President Trump to get the vaccine. TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Jen from Iowa is skeptical of the COVID vaccines, even though she and her husband both recently had the virus, and he spent three weeks in an intensive care unit. JEN: For us personally, I really am highly doubtful that we'll ever get vaccinated for this, even though it almost killed him. KEITH: She was one of 19 participants in a focus group aimed at finding messages that could persuade people like her. It was led by longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz and sponsored by the de Beaumont Foundation. They all joined by Zoom. And as Luntz said at the start, they all had two

White House Announces $10 Billion For COVID-19 Testing In Schools

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 3:59pm
The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will spend $10 billion to expand testing for schools, to aid in the president's goal to get schools open once again. The funds will come from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package President Biden signed last week. "With this funding for testing, every state in America will have access to millions of dollars to set up screening testing programs, to add a layer of protection for schools, teachers and students," Carole Johnson, the White House COVID-19 Testing Coordinator, said at a news briefing. Allocations for each state were announced, ranging from $17 million for Wyoming to nearly $888 million for California. The District of Columbia and U.S. territories will receive funding, as will New York City, Los Angeles County, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide technical assistance to state and local health departments to set up school testing

IRS Postpones Tax Filing Deadline To May 17

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 3:18pm
Updated March 17, 2021 at 3:34 PM ET If you've been putting off filing your tax return this year, here's some good news. The IRS and Treasury Department have delayed the filing deadline by another month. The new deadline to file will be May 17. "This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement . Democratic leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee called the extension "absolutely necessary." The announcement means taxpayers can also delay payment of money owed to the IRS for the 2020 tax year normally due in April to May 17. Payers that need more time to file returns can file Form 4868 to request an extension until Oct. 15, but must still pay taxes owed by May 17. The postponement only applies to federal income returns and taxes.

Embattled Cuomo gets support from African American leaders 

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 3:07pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo forged ahead with a normal schedule Wednesday, leading a campaign-style rally and publicly receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a Harlem church. Cuomo’s actions come amid stronger statements from President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about his political future and a sexual harassment scandal. The governor said he wanted to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a pop-up site at a Black church in Harlem to help combat vaccine hesitancy among some in the African American community. “Today, I’m going to take the vaccine,” he said. The carefully staged event was not open to the media. Cuomo was surrounded by supporters from the African American community, including former Rep. Charlie Rangel and Hazel Dukes, the NAACP president and Cuomo family friend whom Cuomo referred to as his “second mother.” The governor also marked Duke’s birthday, leading the others in the traditional “Happy Birthday” song. Dukes, in a campaign-style speech,

Connections: Discussing pandemic ethics

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 2:38pm
We have a discussion about pandemic ethics. University of Rochester Professor Richard Dees joins us to discuss the allocation of resources, the lessons we've learned when it comes to making ethical decisions, and how those lessons can be applied to future health crises. Our guest: Richard Dees , associate professor of philosophy and bioethics, and director of the Program in Bioethics at the University of Rochester

Connections: Discussing policing, mental health crises, and the response to the Daniel Prude case

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 2:35pm
A member of Rochester City Council, Mary Lupien, joins us. She discusses why she had information about Daniel Prude's death before the public found out in September. We also discuss how Lupien and mental health professionals see the Prude case and the need for changes in who responds to emergency calls. Our guests: Mary Lupien , member of Rochester City Council Melanie Funchess , mental health advocate, and member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group and the Black Healers Network Chacku Mathai , mental health and substance use ex-patient, recovery advocate, member of the New York State Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council, and vice president for the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

Wells Fargo Site Crashes As Customers Try To See If They've Received Stimulus Payments

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 2:01pm
Wells Fargo customers trying Wednesday to find out if their stimulus payments had arrived instead found their mobile app not working and online accounts not accessible. The bank said the outage is due to high volumes and won't affect the electronic deposit of the stimulus money. "We apologize to our customers who may be experiencing issues with our online banking this morning," the bank said in a tweet. "This does not affect stimulus payments with a March 17 effective date which were credited to accounts today. Thanks for your patience. " Wells Fargo customers looking to see if their stimulus money from the federal government has hit their account got this message. NPR Some customers were expressing frustration on Twitter. A Wells Fargo spokesperson said in a statement, "We are working to address the issue as quickly as possible." Meanwhile, the Treasury Department has released a report saying that 90 million stimulus payments have been sent so far totaling more than $242 billion. The

Disneyland Theme Parks Will Reopen To California Residents In April

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 2:00pm
It's time for Californians to dig their Mickey Mouse ears out of storage. Disneyland Park and Disneyland California Adventure Park will reopen their gates to state residents on April 30, more than a year after shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Anaheim, Calif.-based theme parks will reopen at limited capacity and in line with state public health requirements, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC's Squawk Alley on Wednesday. "It's been a long, long time since we've been able to create magic for our guests, and put our cast members back to work and help the associated businesses around the Anaheim area that currently depend on Disneyland for their livelihood," Chapek said. "It's going to be a great opportunity for us, I think, to bring that magic back to everyone involved." California's public health directives have kept the parks closed since last March. But under new guidance released last week, red-tier counties — the second-highest level of risk — can open theme parks to

EU Officials Propose Digital Travel Certificates — Vaccination Not Required

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 1:50pm
As Europe struggles to get enough vaccine and to contain a third wave of the coronavirus, the European Commission has created a plan for a digital certificate to facilitate travel across its 27 member states. The proposal from the European Union's executive body will be discussed next week at a summit of EU leaders. One aspect of the plan is important to note: it does not require vaccination as a pre-condition to travel. The proposed Digital Green Certificate would serve as proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. It will be available free of charge in digital or paper form, and use a QR code for security and authenticity. "All EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU and this applies regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not," the Commission explains , noting that the same principle applies to non-EU nationals staying in the EU and who have the right to travel to other

Rochester Regional Health CEO Eric Bieber to retire in July

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 1:21pm
Rochester Regional Health’s top official has announced plans to retire later this year. President & CEO Dr. Eric Bieber will retire in July. Bieber joined the organization in 2014 following the merger of Rochester General Hospital and Unity Health System. From 2010 until November 2014, he was at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio. Bieber released a statement on Wednesday saying “It has been a tremendous honor to lead such a dedicated team of talented people over the past seven years.” He added that Rochester Regional has built a robust health network that provides critical services for people living across Western New York and the Finger Lakes. Rochester Regional is now a $3 billion health system with 20,000 employees. The health system’s board of directors will conduct a national search to identify Bieber’s successor.

IEC Electronics to add 150 jobs in Monroe County

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 12:36pm
A Wayne County-based company is expanding to Monroe County and creating 150 new full-time jobs. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said Wednesday that IEC Electronics will renovate an 86,000 square-foot facility on Jetview Drive in the town of Chili. IEC provides advanced electronic manufacturing services to technology companies in the aerospace, defense, industrial and medical sectors. IEC President & CEO Jeffrey Schlarbaum said the new location will help his company consolidate their specialty metals operation along with an expanded electronic assembly operation. Schlarbaum said the new location will also provide IEC with a larger pool of resources to support what he believes will be ongoing, double-digit growth. Officials said the new facility will complement IEC’s brand new, state-of-the-art headquarters facility in Newark, Wayne County. Renovations are expected to begin in March and business operations are expected to begin by July of this year. Monroe County’s Industrial

Scientists Create Living Entities In The Lab That Closely Resemble Human Embryos

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 12:05pm
For decades, science has been trying to unlock the mysteries of how a single cell becomes a fully formed human being and what goes wrong to cause genetic diseases, miscarriages and infertility. Now, scientists have created living entities in their labs that resemble human embryos; the results of two new experiments are the most complete such "model embryos" developed to date. The goal of the experiments is to gain important insights into early human development and find new ways to prevent birth defects and miscarriages and treat fertility problems. But the research, which was published in two separate papers Wednesday in the journal Nature Portfolio , raises sensitive moral and ethical concerns. "I'm sure it makes anyone who is morally serious nervous when people start creating structures in a petri dish that are this close to being early human beings," says Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, a bioethicist at Georgetown University . "They're not quite there yet, and so that's good. But the more they

In Landmark Ruling, Court Says Japan's Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 11:48am
A Japanese court ruled on Wednesday that the government's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, a landmark decision that supporters hope will pave the way for marriage equality in the only G-7 nation to not fully recognize same-sex partnerships. Article 24 of Japan's constitution defines marriage as based on the "mutual consent of both sexes," which is currently interpreted to mean it is legal only between a man and a woman. But as The Associated Press reports, the Sapporo District Court found that banning same-sex marriages violates Article 14 of the Japanese constitution, which prohibits discrimination due to "race, creed, sex, social status or family origin." It said that because sexual orientation is not a choice, it is discriminatory not to afford marital benefits to same-sex couples. "Legal benefits stemming from marriages should equally benefit both homosexuals and heterosexuals," the court said, according to the AP. The six plaintiffs — two male couples and one female couple

Atlanta Shooting Suspect Charged In Spa Shootings

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 11:30am
Updated March 17, 2021 at 4:11 PM ET Robert Aaron Long, the suspected gunman in three attacks that killed eight people at Atlanta-area spas on Tuesday, has been charged with murder and assault. Cherokee County officials announced on Wednesday afternoon that Long, 21, has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of assault in the shootings involving three women and two men at Young's Asian Massage. He has also been charged with murder in Atlanta, where four other women were killed. Police said the suspect has confessed to the crime. Six women of Asian descent are among the dead, raising suspicions of a hate crime. Long claims race did not play a role in his decision to target the businesses, police said, relaying details from questioning the gunman. Long "may have frequented some of these places in the past," Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said, after saying that the suspect indicated to investigators that he has a sexual addiction. Long was arrested within hours of

Catalonia Is Set To Launch Its Own Space Agency. Will It Fly?

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 10:05am
LLEIDA, Spain — The first thing you see when you get to the Montsec Astronomical Park is a big dark metal dome: the planetarium. Behind it are three smaller white domes, housing various telescopes. Farther up a bumpy road is the Montsec Observatory. All this space gadgetry seems out of place among the earthy mountain surroundings, but the area — which has some of the darkest skies in Catalonia — has been frequented by amateur astronomers for decades. When the observatory opened in 2008, it "was conceived as an astronomical observatory, but that was extended in 2018 as a ground station for the communication with nanosatellites," says Josep Colomé, the Montsec Observatory's director. Now, the site is also set to become the home of Catalonia's official space agency. Commenters question the timing and motivations behind such a venture funded by a regional government whose leaders want independence from Spain. But the Catalan government says "the democratization of space" is a window of

Biden Defends Major As 'A Sweet Dog' Just In Need Of Some Training

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 9:34am
President Biden came to the defense of his rescue dog Major after the German shepherd caused what the president described as a minor incident last week at the White House. Biden said Major, one of his two German shepherds, was just startled in his new home when he caused what the White House called a "minor injury" to someone last week. "You turn a corner, and there's two people you don't know at all," Biden said in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America . "And he moves to protect. But he's a sweet dog. Eighty-five percent of the people there love him. He just — all he does is lick them and wag his tail." "Major did not bite someone and penetrate the skin," he said. The Bidens adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018 after first fostering him as a puppy. After the incident, the dogs were sent back to Biden's Delaware home because the president said he and first lady Jill Biden were on the road, away from the White House. Biden said that in the meantime, Major is

'Undoubtedly Difficult': Mayorkas Says DHS Is Working To Manage Influx At Border

WXXI US News - Wed, 03/17/2021 - 9:31am
Updated March 17, 2021 at 1:37 PM ET Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stressed that the U.S. is both a country of laws and of immigrants in testimony before a House panel on Wednesday. His testimony comes as the department grapples with a surge in migrants — particularly unaccompanied minors — to the U.S.-Mexico border. He faced repeated questions from Republicans framing the uptick in asylum-seekers as a "crisis" spurred by the Biden administration. Mayorkas argued the issue was bigger than a single administration. "The situation is undoubtedly difficult. We are working around the clock to manage it, and it will take time," Mayorkas said in his opening remarks to the committee. "But we will not waver in our commitment to succeed. That is our job. We will also not waver in our values and our principles as a nation. In the Department of Homeland Security, we can and we will tackle the many challenges we face while complying with our legal obligations and honoring our
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