Happy Tuesday! Best of luck to Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services, which is currently in the process of trying to track down an 8-millimeter-long capsule containing radioactive material. It fell off a truck two weeks ago, and could cause serious bodily harm to anyone who touches it.
Don’t worry, authorities have narrowed the search down to a 900-mile stretch of highway between Perth and Pilbara.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The White House announced Monday it would end the national and public health emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 11, as the House prepares to vote on resolutions in favor of terminating both later this week. The Biden administration argued a May 11 end date would give the health care system time to prepare for the regulatory changes that will kick in when the emergencies end, while Republican lawmakers are adamant the “emergency” phase of the pandemic ended months or years ago. Biden told “60 Minutes” in September that “the pandemic is over.”
- The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it was weighing removing restrictions on gay and bisexual blood donors originally implemented during the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis, replacing them with a new donor screening that’s individualized and based on recent sexual activity. A requirement to test all donated blood for disease would remain in place, but the changes reflect a need to “maintain an adequate blood supply,” said Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. The proposal will be open to public comment for 60 days.
- The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it was stripping Evusheld—AstraZeneca’s monoclonal antibody drug used to treat COVID-19—of its emergency use authorization due to its ineffectiveness against the currently dominant XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant.
- Utah’s GOP Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill into law over the weekend banning gender-transition surgeries for minors and limiting access to hormone treatments for young people in the state. The legislation also requires the state’s Department of Health and Human services to perform a “systematic review” of the treatments and present its findings to the state legislature.
- In a report released Friday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded the Bashar al Assad regime was responsible for a chlorine attack in Douma, Syria, in April 2018. The finding was based on 66 witness interviews, 70 chemical samples, and additional forensic evidence and blamed the Syrian Arab Air Force for dropping the chemical. The U.S., U.K., and France responded to the attack, which killed at least 43 people, with missile strikes against the Syrian government in the same month.
- More than 90 people were killed Monday in a likely suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, near the northwest border with Afghanistan. A small faction of the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack—which took place at around 1:30pm local time, during afternoon prayers—but the main branch of the Pakistani Taliban denied any involvement.
- President Joe Biden appeared on Monday to deny a Ukrainian request for F-16 fighter jets, telling reporters, “No,” when asked if the U.S. would provide the planes. Andriy Yermak, a high-ranking Ukrainian official, suggested Poland might be open to sending some of its jets. Polish Prime Minister Matusz Morawiecki said Monday that any decision to send F-16s would be made “in consultation with NATO countries.”
- The Financial Times reported Monday the Biden administration would block U.S. companies from selling most products to Chinese telecoms company Huawei by pulling export licenses. The new policy represents the next step toward banning all U.S. technology sales to the Chinese tech giant the U.S. government says helps spy for the Chinese government.
- Bobby Hull—NHL Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup winner—died Monday at 84. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1957 to 1972 and scored a franchise record 604 goals for the team.
“Mom! Mom! Mom!”
Tyre Nichols, 29, liked skateboarding, worked at FedEx, and posted pictures on Facebook of his four-year-old son. After moving from California to Memphis, Tennessee a few years ago, he continued his photography hobby, capturing train tracks, bridges, and historic Beale Street. “Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way,” he wrote. “It expresses me in ways I cannot write down for people.”
On January 7, Nichols was on his way home from taking sunset pictures at a Memphis park, according to his family, when police pulled him over. Body and street camera footage of the encounter released Friday evening shows an officer approaching the car with his gun raised and another pulling Nichols out of his vehicle. “I didn’t do anything,” Nichols said as officers wrestled him down, one yelling at others to taser him. Officers demanded he show them his hands even after they were restrained and ordered him to get on the ground when he was already prone—then escalated their threats when he didn’t understand or couldn’t comply with their often contradictory directives. Nichols told them, “I’m just trying to go home.”