A federal jury in New York found rhythm and blues star R. Kelly guilty of racketeering and crossing state lines for immoral acts. President Joe Biden defended giving booster shots for COVID-19 now that the Centers for Disease Control has approved Pfizer's third dose for certain groups. At least two-thirds of Britain's gas stations are out of fuel due to a shortage of truckers and panic buying.
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In the day's other news: R&B singing star R. Kelly was convicted in his federal sex trafficking trial in New York. He sat silently, with eyes downcast, listening, as the jury pronounced him guilty of racketeering and crossing state lines for immoral acts.
Afterward, prosecutors said justice was finally done, after decades, for the young women and girls coerced into sex.
Jacquelyn Kasulis, Acting U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York>: No one deserves what they experienced at his hands, or the threats and harassment they faced in telling the truth about what happened to them. We hope that today's verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims.
Kelly has been jailed without bail since 2019. He could get 20 years in prison.
The number of murders in the United States jumped last year by the most ever recorded. The FBI reports the total rose by 4, 900 from 2019, with some cities setting new highs. The increase in homicides roughly overlap the pandemic and coincided with a sharp rise in gun purchases.
President Biden today defended giving booster shots for COVID-19, now that the CDC has approved Pfizer's booster for certain groups. He received his shot at the White House, after acknowledging that many poor countries are still waiting for vaccine.
President Joe Biden:
We're doing more than every other nation in the world combined.
We're going to have well over 1.1 billion shots. And we're going to continue going. We're going to do our part. We have also given a great deal of funding to COVAX, which is a vehicle that does this.
Meanwhile, this was the deadline for hospital and nursing home workers in New York state to get vaccinated, or be fired.
And in North Carolina, the Novant Health hospital system did fire more than 175 workers for violating a vaccine mandate.
In Britain, most gas stations have run dry, brought on by a shortage of truckers and panic buying. Officials blame the pandemic and the departure of many foreign workers after Britain left the European Union.
Today, panic buying worsened the shortage, and, for a fourth day, long lines of vehicles waited outside gas stations.
Andy, Fuel Delivery Driver:
I haven't been out and panic bought, like all the other sheep and idiots. So, I waited here today on my way to work, got some fuel. And the price has gone up by nearly six pence a liter for no reason.
The government urged people to stop hoarding gas, and weighed whether to have soldiers drive fuel trucks.
Farmers in India renewed protests today against agriculture laws that ended guaranteed crop prices. Farmers have camped outside New Delhi for nearly a year, and, today, thousands crowded highways and blocked traffic. There were similar protests around the country.
Back in this country, a federal judge says the man who shot President Reagan 40 years ago can be freed from all remaining oversight next June. John Hinckley Jr. was found originally not guilty by reason of insanity. He remained at a Washington, D.C., hospital until his conditional release in 2016. The judge says he shows of no further sign of illness.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 71 points to close at 34869. The Nasdaq fell 77 points. And the S&P 500 slipped 12.
And Broadway is back, and so are the Tony Awards. "Moulin Rouge!: The Musical" took home 10 Tonys last night, including best musical. "The Inheritance" was honored four times, and made history, as playwright Matthew Lopez became the first Latino to win for best new play.