News Headlines 3/19/21

BIDEN, HARRIS TO MEET WITH ASIAN AMERICAN LEADERS IN ATLANTA AFTER MASSAGE PARLOR KILLINGS: President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be meeting with Asian American state legislators and other community leaders in Atlanta today (March 19th) after the massage parlors attack in the area earlier this week in which a 21-year-old man is accused of killing eight people, six of them Asian women. The deadly attacks came amid a national increase in anti-Asian violence. Biden and Harris had been planning to go to Atlanta today before the attacks took place as part of the administration’s national effort to tout the benefits of the $1.9 trillion Covid relief legislation that Biden signed. Their original political event has been canceled. Meanwhile, Biden directed yesterday (March 18th) that flags be flown at half-staff through sunset Monday in honor of those killed in the attacks.

BIDEN: U.S. TO MEET 100 MILLION COVID VACCINATIONS GOAL TODAY: President Biden said Thursday (March 18th) that the U.S. will meet his goal of 100 million Covid vaccinations today (March 19th), in his 58th day in office, ahead of his original target date of doing it within his first 100 days. Biden said he’d announce a new vaccination target next week. The White House also said yesterday that the U.S. will be sending some Covid vaccines to Canada and Mexico. The U.S. will be sending a combined four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the two countries, 2.5 million to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada, describing it as a “loan.” The AstraZeneca vaccine hasn’t yet been approved for use in the U.S., but has been okayed by the World Health Organization. Tens of millions of doses have been stockpiled in the U.S. waiting for emergency use authorization.

PUTIN FIRES BACK AFTER BIDEN SAYS HE’S A ‘KILLER’: Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back Thursday (March 18th) after President Biden described him as a “killer.” When asked during an ABC News interview aired Wednesday if he thought Putin was a, quote, “killer,” Biden answered, “I do.” Putin recalled his ambassador to the U.S. later that day in response, and on Thursday when asked about Biden’s comment during a video call marking Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, Putin said a remark along the lines of, “it takes one to know one.” He cited America’s history of slavery, the killing of Native Americans, and the atomic bombing of Japan during World War Two. The White House responded that while Biden would continue to be ready to work with Putin on areas of mutual concern, he was, quote, “not going to hold back” when he has concerns about Putin’s actions.

FBI RELEASES VIDEO OF ‘MOST EGREGIOUS’ ATTACKS ON OFFICERS DURING U.S. CAPITOL ATTACK: The FBI yesterday (March 18th) released 10 videos of what it called “most egregious” attacks on law enforcement officers during the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, and asked for the public’s help in identifying them. Even though more than 300 people have been arrested since the attack, the FBI is still struggling to identify some of the most violent people seen on video assaulting law enforcement agents. Nearly 140 officers from the Capitol Police force and D.C. Metropolitan Police were injured during the Capitol assault, the chairman of the Capitol Police Labor Committee said afterward.

12 JURORS NOW SEATED IN TRIAL OF OFFICER CHARGED IN GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH: Twelve jurors have now been seated in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer facing murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd, after another day of jury selection yesterday (March 18th). Just two alternates remain to be chosen. Judge Peter Cahill will rule today on the defense’s request to delay or move the trial after the city’s $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family was announced last week. The defense has argued the news could taint the jurors. Opening statements are set for March 29th if the jury is complete by then.