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In our news wrap Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to Moderna's vaccine against COVID-19, a federal judge rejects a plea deal on hate crimes charges for the man who killed Ahmaud Arbery, six historically Black universities contend with bomb threats, California moves to dismantle its death row, and the first Black NHL player will receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
The United States called again today for North Korea to stop firing missiles after its most powerful weapons test since 2017. On Sunday, Pyongyang launched a missile that can reach Guam, a U.S. territory some 2,100 miles away from North Korea.
We will return to this after the news summary.
The United Arab Emirates says it intercepted a missile today that was fired by rebels in Yemen. It was the third such attack in three weeks. UAE defense video showed warplanes destroying the missile launcher afterward. But the rebels claimed success anyway. UAE forces are fighting in Yemen against the rebels, who are backed by Iran.
On the pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval today to Moderna's vaccine against COVID-19. It's been administered so far under an emergency authorization. Pfizer's vaccine won full approval last August.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized again for office parties during the COVID lockdown in 2020. An investigation report today found what it called failures of leadership and judgment. Johnson told the House of Commons that he accepts the findings, and he said — quote — "I get it and I will fix it."
Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister:
It isn't enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look ourselves in the mirror and we must learn.
This doesn't need to wait for the police investigations to be concluded. That is why we are making changes now in the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office run.
At the same time, the prime minister again dismissed calls that he step down.
Northern Europe is reeling after powerful winter storms killed four people and did widespread damage over the weekend. Winds of 100 miles an hour and driving rain blasted Scotland and the Scandinavian countries, toppling trees and destroying homes. Thousands were still without electricity today.
Back in this country, New England and parts of the Northeast spent another day digging out from a weekend blizzard. In the Boston suburbs, temperatures rose slightly, as plows and shovelers returned to streets. Some parts of Massachusetts saw more than 2.5 feet of snow.
A federal judge in Georgia today rejected a hate crimes agreement in the Ahmaud Arbery killing last year. Travis McMichael and his father are now doing life in state prison for chasing and murdering Arbery. The hate crimes deal would send them to federal prison, where conditions are better, for 30 years. But Arbery's parents denounced the agreement.
Marcus Abery, Father of Ahmaud Arbery: We want 100 percent justice, not no half-justice, because you have to think. If an average American man would have did a white man like that, they would try to kill him on the spot. So, we want 100 percent justice, me and Ahmaud and my family.
The McMichaels have until Friday to decide their next move. A third man convicted in the Arbery murder is not party to the plea agreement.
At least six historically Black universities scrambled to deal with bomb threats today for the second time this month. Several of the schools locked down their campuses for a time. There was no indication of any bombs being found.
California is moving to dismantle its death row, the nation's largest, within two years. It's now located at San Quentin state prison. Governor Gavin Newsom outlined plans today to transfer condemned inmates to other sites and to merge them into the general prison population.
On Wall Street, major stock indexes scored gains of 1 to 3 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average added 406 points to close near 35132. The Nasdaq rose 469 points. The S&P 500 added 83. But, for the entire month of January, the S&P fell 5 percent, the Nasdaq plunged 9 percent, the Dow dropped 3 percent.
And Willie O'Ree, the first Black player in the National Hockey League, will receive the Congressional Gold Medal. President Biden signed a bill today awarding him the nation's highest civilian honor. O'Ree broke the NHL's color barrier in 1958 and played two seasons with the Boston Bruins. He still serves as a league ambassador for diversity.
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