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Reasons that Propelled Modi to a Second Term



ETV Bharat


With Modi-led BJP storming into power with a landslide victory in 2019 general elections, it’s time to examine factors that propelled the saffron party to the second term in the office.

Modi wave swept the country yet again, this time with more ferocity though. On its way to a landslide majority in 2019 general elections, the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bettered its 2014 tally to end up with 303 seats, 229,075,170 votes, 37.36% of the total mandate, and 6.02% vote upswing. Such a stellar performance cannot be attributed to one single factor, as there were several of them at play, some profound and some less so. Here’re the top four factors that propelled Modi towards a second consecutive term in the office.

  • Personal popularity:

While the personal popularity of Narendra Modi has dipped a bit lately, it was still good enough to keep the party poised for a return to power. To put this in perspective, let’s consider some stats courtesy the Mood of the National Poll. The study puts Modi’s popularity at 34%, about 12% more than his prime competitor for the top post, Rahul Gandhi. This is largely due to the BJP think tank’s painstaking efforts to revive, rebrand and remodel Brand Modi.

BJP’s entire campaign messaging was centered on Modi, projecting him as an efficient administrator and an incorruptible leader of masses who rose through the ranks to lead India into a new era of social justice and economic growth. The opposition failed to develop a counter-narrative and slumped to a crushing defeat in wake of the Modi wave.

  • Last Mile delivery:

Though popular schemes were high on the agenda of previous governments, only a few of the schemes could make a real impact due to unrealistic planning, poor implementation, and rampant corruption. Contrarily, the Modi government in its first tenure not only launched schemes but ensured their last-mile delivery as well. Cooking gas connections were distributed through UJJWALA YOGNA, affordable housing ensured via PRADHAN MANTRI AWAS YOJANA, financial inclusion aimed with PRADHAN MANTRI JAN DHAN YOJANA and insurance brought to the weaker sections of the society through PRADHAN MANTRI SURAKSHA BIMA YOJANA.

How the schemes panned out on the ground is debatable but at least they were there for the voters to see. The schemes helped build a popular perception that Modi government is serious about poverty elevation and removing economic disparity, reported ETV Bharat.

  • The Hindutva Factor:

BJP’s existence and rise are closely linked to the Hindutva factor. The party burst on to the scene to champion the cause of the Hindu majority that per it ‘suffered’ at the hands of Muslim rulers. In its entire history, the saffron party has been raising the issue of Muslim appeasement by successive Congress governments and promoting extreme nationalism. Despite some serious efforts to woo minority voters, the tag of the right-winged party stays intact to this day.

In the 2014 general elections, BJP managed to consolidate right-wing Hindu voters and walk into power. This time around the story was no different, according to ETV news today. BJP and its parent organization, RSS, mobilized workers to rekindle the Hindutva factor to their advantage.

  • Pulwama and Balakot:

On Feb 14, 2019, when India was gearing up for a massive electoral exercise, 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in suicide attack orchestrated by the Pakistan-based, banned terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad. The Modi government responded to this act of terror with an airstrike on Feb 26 when Indian warplanes violated the LOC to ravage militant training camps in Balakot.

Per ETV news live, the nationalistic fervor picked up pan India and voters across age groups, occupations and ethnicities consolidated behind the Modi government. It was a classic case of emotions translating into electoral gains.

Read More: Shashikant Das appointed as the new RBI governor

Pranab Bhandari is working in one of India's fast-growing news network(ETV Bharat) as a content marketing manager. He has expertise in writing about the arts & entertainment industries of India.

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CSU Pueblo student arrested for allegedly possessing a cache of loaded weapons



CSU Pueblo student arrested for allegedly possessing a cache of loaded weapons

A Colorado State University Pueblo student was arrested Tuesday after a cache of loaded weapons was found, including a semi-automatic rifle, with nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Robert James Killis, allegedly made “threatening and concerning statements,” according to a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office news release. The weapons were found on campus, in the suspect’s apartment, and in his truck.

“Witnesses reported Killis made threats towards the university staff and students,” according to the release. “Killis, who has previous military experience, talk(ed) about buying body armor, semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and other guns and saying that he liked to kill people.”

Detectives began surveilling Killis on Monday, and spotted an ammunition box, a bulletproof vest and “a case that appeared large enough to hold a rifle or shotgun” in his 2020 Chevrolet Silverado.

A search warrant was obtained for the truck and apartment on Tuesday. Detectives contacted Killis at a northside restaurant away from his campus residence.

“When asked if he was carrying any weapons on his person for officer safety, Killis told deputies he did not have any weapons on him but admitted he had guns in his truck,” the sheriff’s office said. “Detectives executed the search warrant and found a loaded semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a handgun.”

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Schenectady activists face charges connected to August event



Schenectady activists face charges connected to August event

SCHENECTADY – Two Black Lives Matters activists who converged on an Aug. 26 community event and angrily confronted police and the mayor weren’t arrested at the time because authorities “did not want to further disrupt the event that they had already disrupted, especially with children and families looking on,” Officer Patrick Irwin, a department spokesman, said Wednesday.

Instead, Mikayla Foster, 22, and Shaqueena Charles, 29, were asked to turn themselves in on charges of disorderly and endangering the welfare of a child, “based on their actions during the event,” Irwin said.

Foster couldn’t be reached, but according to social media, the two intend to turn themselves in Thursday.

Irwin said the police’s detective division launched an investigation and filed for a warrant with the court.

The duo’s actions, which had been recorded live and posted on social media by Foster, but have since been removed, “speak for themselves,” Irwin said.

Letters were sent to Foster and Charles on Sept. 13. As per usual, defendants are asked to appear in court two weeks later, Irwin said.

During the event in the parking lot of Trustco Bank at State Street and Brandywine Avenue, police officers were handing out bicycle helmets to schoolchildren when the activists from vehicles accused local law enforcement of murder and hurled obscenities.

Once the protesters arrived on foot, many of them pulled out cellphones to record themselves angrily confront officers, including Police Chief Eric Clifford and Mayor Gary McCarthy.

The city put on the event for police to engage with the public, as suggested during the leadup to the city’s police reform and reinvention plan.

Members of the Fire Department, code enforcement, the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department, representatives of MVP Health Care and Trustco Bank, and new city schools superintendent Anibal Soler, Jr. also attended to answer questions from the public.

Police had said residents could file complaints during the event, and the BLM protesters leveraged the opportunity, demanding to know how to file one about what they said was the police’s “murder” of Andrew Kearse.

Kearse succumbed to heart failure after being apprehended by Schenectady police officers in May 2017, according to an autopsy.

The officer involved in the case, Mark Weekes, was the subject of a grand jury investigation because he drove Kearse to the police station after the arrest. Kearse was unconscious upon arrival at the station and never regained consciousness.

The grand jury declined to file charges against Weekes.

Foster had told a reporter on the day of the event they were upset about being arrested earlier this year for writing messages in washable chalk outside the Police Department during a BLM protest.

Foster claimed it was law enforcement’s attempt at trying to set precedent for protesters in Schenectady.

Foster also took issue with police and city officials not showing up to a back-to-school event by the Be A Leader youth group held earlier that day. 

The activists indicated on social media that they were turning themselves in Thursday morning.

It’s uncertain how the latest looming charges will impact the case against Foster for third-degree criminal tampering, a Class B misdemeanor, in connection with an April 13 protest outside the police station.

That charge had been adjourned in contemplation of dismissal on June 9, and Foster and a co-defendant’s records would have been sealed in December if they aren’t arrested over the next six months.

In that incident, Foster was involved in the protest that led to both damage and tampering with city property at 531 Liberty St. on April 13, police said.

The protest in Schenectady, as well as an Albany protest that started the next day, concerned the police shooting death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in Minnesota.

During the protest and chalking incident, a glass panel on a door at the Schenectady station was broken.

Some of the chalk-written messages read: “We won’t forget,” “Stop killing us,” “Blood is on your hands,” and “Cops and klan are hand-in-hand.”

During a press conference after their arrests, Foster said, “If we are arresting peaceful protesters for putting washable chalk on a building meant to serve the community, then I don’t know what to say.”

As a result of that incident, police had put up temporary fencing around the Police Department. It was removed in June.

Clifford has said he is not against peaceful protests, but he said his preference is those who protest policing request to meet to discuss their grievances.

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Saratoga BLM activists, supporters continue to press officials on arrests



Saratoga BLM activists, supporters continue to press officials on arrests

Saratoga Springs Black Lives Matter activists and their supporters continued to lambast city officials and police at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, while officials discussed the merits of establishing a civilian review board empowered to hear complaints over police actions.

Activists and community members who support their cause called on city leaders to drop charges against a litany of protesters facing charges for disorderly conduct and unlawful imprisonment connected to a July 14 protest that blocked traffic on Broadway.

Samira Sangare, a leading organizer in recent protests, said the organization would not participate in proposed mediation with city officials until all protest-related charges were dropped.

“There will be no mediation until the charges are dropped,” Sangare said, highlighting how she was handcuffed and detained at the city police station for hours earlier this month.

Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, who in recent months has sought to find a professional mediator that could help facilitate discussions between city officials and local activists, acknowledged the activists’ new position at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I do think I heard what it’s going to take for mediation to move forward,” Madigan said. 

Sangare’s statement followed a long line of supporters who urged city officials to repair community trust.

Rev. Joe Cleveland, of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Saratoga Springs, at the City Council meeting, said the arrests of protesters have made Saratoga Springs look like a city from “Alabama in the 50s and 60s,” and called for the charges against activists to be dropped. 

“The charges against BLM activists in the city need to be dropped, and the city needs to end its practice of intimidation and harassment,” he said. 

He urged city officials to consider the stories that Black people have told about their experiences with bias and outright racism within the city. And he called on city leaders to strive to create a city that supports all people.

“Black people in this town are telling you about their experiences. Have you heard them? Do you believe them?” Cleveland said. “How can Saratoga Springs be a place where Black people, people of color, working class people can thrive?”

Tracy Krosky, the mother of Samira Sangare and T.J. Sangare, who both face charges from the July protest, recounted watching her son appear in court Tuesday morning in shackles and noted that she was proud of the activism of her children. 

“Increasingly in Saratoga we are seeing there is no space to question police,” she said. “I’m proud that my husband and I raised children so committed to liberation.”

She called on city leaders to envision a better future and work to build it.

“I hope you all stop and think about how you want to make this community better,” she told the City Council members. “Because right now I’m worried you are not able to imagine a better city community.”

Nedra Hickenbottom, the mother of organizers Lexis Figuereo and Chandler Hickenbottom, also addressed the City Council and denounced the actions of police toward her kids. She said police didn’t answers questions about why they were arresting her son earlier this month, which she said further escalated a tense situation. She said police act like they want to create more conflict. 

“If you would stop and think and give some answers, they wouldn’t blow up,” Hickenbottom said. “But this is what you want, because you want it to look like something is wrong with us. You guys need to think about what you are doing, because you are only making things worse.”

One speaker who identified herself as a student at Saratoga Springs High School accused the police of selective, and biased, enforcement at the protest, noting that, while the vast majority of protesters were white, many of the arrests have been of Black activists.   

“I was at the July 14 protest, and I have to wonder why I wasn’t arrested when so many of the Black activists were,” she said. 

Activists and their supporters were also frustrated over the limited number of people allowed to attend the City Council meeting and efforts to bar supporters from attending the court hearings of protesters earlier in the day. 

Saratoga resident Kristin Dart, who participated in the city’s police reform task force, said that city leaders have failed to protect the public’s right to access its government institutions. 

“Twice today we have limited public access to public proceedings that are designed to be open to the public,” Dart said. “We didn’t choose to do this work, this work chose us because you all are abdicating your power.” 

In an interview Wednesday, Saratoga Police Lt. Bob Jillson, a department spokesperson, defended the police department’s handling of the July 14 protest, noting that officers must balance the rights of activists and other people in the community. He also noted that during numerous protests in the past 18 months there have been no arrests.

“I continuously say we look to balance the rights of everyone else and the constitutional rights every citizen has,” Jillson said. 

After the public comments segment of the Tuesday night meeting concluded, attorney Jason Golub, a Saratoga Springs resident who volunteered to help implement police reform proposals, offered what he said would be his last presentation on research into the civilian review boards in other communities.

Golub said he thought there was sufficient support for establishing a civilian review board in Saratoga that could process community complaints about the Police Department. But, he said, city leaders and police would need to be engaged from the beginning for a review board to be effective. 

“I think there is plenty of evidence a civilian review board will add value to our community,” he told the City Council. “I think it protects civilians, I think it protects police.”

Golub, who has made multiple presentations to the City Council and studied numerous examples of other civilian review boards, said he thinks that it would benefit the community and asked the City Council to make a decision soon about whether to move forward with one.

“What I don’t want to do is keep talking about it,” Golub said. “I want us to make some decisions, I want us to make them together in the best interests of the community.”

The City Council did not decide whether to back a civilian review board yet.

“I am a supporter,” Madigan said, thanking Golub for the information she said could be helpful to the “future council,” a reference to November elections that will change much of the council’s makeup. 

“If done well, I think a [civilian review board] can work well for both our city and police,” Madigan said.

Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton suggested she was ready to move forward before new council members would take their seats.

“We know everything we need to know. I think we need to take the next step and agree we are going to do this,” Dalton said. “This can be a positive tool for the city.”

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USOPC: American hopefuls for Beijing Games must have vaccine



USOPC: American hopefuls for Beijing Games must have vaccine

U.S. athletes trying to make the Winter Olympics will have to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 under a groundbreaking new policy announced Wednesday by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that, starting Nov. 1, the USOPC will require staff, athletes and others utilizing training centers and other USOPC facilities to be vaccinated.

The requirement, she said, “will also apply to our full Team USA delegation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

According to the team website, athletes will have to show proof of vaccination by Dec. 1. The U.S. is expected to send around 240 athletes to the Winter Olympics, though the mandate will impact hundreds more — anyone with hopes of making the final squad.

The International Olympic Committee has been encouraging vaccines but did not require them for athletes who competed in the Summer Olympics. With that guidance, most national Olympic committees, including the USOPC, followed suit by strongly recommending the vaccines but not requiring them. The IOC’s first “Playbook,” a booklet offering health-related and other guidance for the Winter Games, is due out next month.

Earlier this year, around 83% of the more than 600 American athletes who qualified for Tokyo got the shots in time for the Summer Games, according to the USOPC’s final count. The IOC estimated about 85% of all athletes in the Olympic village had been vaccinated.

There were some Americans, including golfer Bryson DeChambeau and swimmer Michael Andrew, who spoke openly about not receiving shots. DeChambeau ended up testing positive shortly before he was supposed to head to Japan and missed the games, while Andrew said he had contracted COVID-19 previously and didn’t plan to get vaccinated.

In her letter, Hirshland said the USOPC had been hopeful that many COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted by the end of the Tokyo Games.

“The stark reality is that this pandemic is far from over,” she wrote. “This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation and service to athletes.”

Hirshland said there would be a process for athletes to apply for an exemption.

The USOPC policy veers from those at other American sports organizations, including the NFL and NBA, which don’t have mandates. Neither does the NHL, though it has strict protocols for unvaccinated players, including stipulations that allow teams to suspend unvaccinated players if they miss games due to COVID-19 or travel restrictions related to the virus.

The NHL has an agreement to allow some of its players to compete in the Olympics.

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Britney Spears court filing says conservatorship should end



Britney Spears court filing says conservatorship should end

LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears said in a court filing Wednesday that the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money since 2008 should be terminated.

The filing in Los Angeles Superior Court from Spears’ attorney Mathew Rosengart says she “fully consents” to “expeditiously” ending the conservatorship, which her father James Spears, who has controlled it for most of its 13 years, asked for in a Sept. 7 petition.

It’s the first time Britney Spears has called for an end to the arrangement in court documents, though she has called for its termination in hearings.

Her filing emphasizes, however, that it is more important to her that her father be removed, calling it “a necessary first — and substantial — step towards Ms. Spears’s freedom and ending the Kafkaesque nightmare imposed upon her by her father, so that her dignity and basic liberties can be restored.”

It is urgent that James Spears be suspended from his role of conservator of Britney Spears’ finances by Sept. 29, the next hearing date in the case, the filing says.

“Mr. Spears cannot be permitted to hold a position of control over his daughter for another day,” the document says.

The documents also reveal that Britney Spears is in the process of putting together a prenuptial agreement after getting engaged to her longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari earlier this month.

The flurry of major filings means that a hearing in the case next week before Judge Brenda Penny could be pivotal.

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Mounds View: Suspect struck by a squad vehicle after shooting at police has died



Mounds View: Suspect struck by a squad vehicle after shooting at police has died

A domestic assault suspect who fired on law enforcement Wednesday in Mounds View died after a sheriff’s deputy then struck the shooter with a squad vehicle, investigators said.

The suspect’s bullets narrowly missed the Mounds View police officer and Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy who responded to a call for help Wednesday morning.

At about 10:40 a.m., Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies assisted Mounds View police with an alleged felony domestic assault that involved a man who fired a gun in a room at the AmericInn by Wyndham at 2200 Mounds View Blvd., according to a sheriff’s department statement.

Bullet holes can be seen in a squad car where a suspect fired upon approaching officers, striking a Mounds View police officer’s squad car just above the driver’s side windshield and a Ramsey County Deputy’s squad just below the driver’s side windshield. (Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

A witness soon reported seeing the suspect walking near the Mermaid Bar & Grill, which is adjacent to the hotel. After getting the suspect’s description, an officer and deputy spotted him in the area of the 5200 block of Pinewood Court, just east of Mounds View Boulevard and off County Road H2.

The suspect then raised a handgun and fired at the approaching squads, striking a Mounds View police officer’s sport utility vehicle just above the driver’s side windshield and a Ramsey County deputy’s SUV just below the driver’s side windshield, according to the statement.

The deputy then struck the suspect with his SUV “to stop the threat,” the statement read.

1632371296 19 Mounds View Suspect struck by a squad vehicle after shooting
Bullet holes can be seen in a squad car where a suspect fired upon approaching officers, striking a Mounds View police officer’s squad car just above the driver’s side windshield and a Ramsey County Deputy’s squad just below the driver’s side windshield. (Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

Officers and deputies provided first aid to the suspect, who was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Mounds View police reported later Wednesday night the suspect had died.

A cocked handgun was recovered at the scene.

Mounds View police and the sheriff’s office will be conducting criminal investigations into the alleged domestic assault and two attempted homicides of peace officers. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will investigate the officer-involved use of force incident.

The identity of the suspect will be released by the BCA.

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Scott extends Vermont’s emergency housing benefit for 30 days



Scott extends Vermont’s emergency housing benefit for 30 days

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — Gov. Phil Scott has agreed to a 30-day extension of the state’s emergency housing benefit, which was set to force more than 500 households out of the motel voucher program this week.

Housing advocates had asked the Scott Administration to extend the benefit until the end of the year for homeless seniors, families with children, those with disabilities, those who are pregnant, and other vulnerable people.

Scott wouldn’t go that far, but said the 30-day pause will let him and his staff a chance to find other solutions before winter sets in—ideally, permanent housing for those who need it. “This can’t go on in perpetuity. So what happens if we go until January 1 and this ends at the end of the year, what then? We’re still going to be faced with the same situation,” he said. “We need to get on the same page. We need to agree upon the goal and a path forward.”

The benefit was set to expire Thursday. This summer, the state had extended the hotel voucher program 84 days for some, and gave $2,500 checks to those no longer eligible. The state is investing $120 million to create more permanent and shared-housing arrangements while also encouraging shelters to expand, officials have said.

Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint applauded the extension. She said the COVID-19 delta variant wasn’t the threat it is today when Scott extended the motel voucher program for 89 days in June. She said the administration and stakeholders “need to back to square one and explore all avenues to keep people safely housed as we head into the colder weather.” 

The ultimate solution is more affordable, safe, and accessible housing, but right now, that’s not available, said Kara Casey of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “For survivors of domestic and sexual violence and many others, this just didn’t mean a roof but for safety,” she said. “In our current climate with a pandemic still very much present and the affordable housing crisis, 84 days has proven to not be enough to be able to afford and to secure affordable housing.”

Another Way, a community drop-in center in Montpelier, is handing out camping gear, meals, and hand warmers, said executive director Ken Russell.

While the motel program is imperfect, “it at least gets people out of the cold,” Russell said. “There’s not a strong enough system in place to take care of these folks,” he said. “Any one of these folks indoors does better.”

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Viral TikTok video questions recent shootings of Black women in St. Louis



St. Louis homeowner shoots and kills intruder

ST. LOUIS– There have been at least 10 women either shot or killed in St. Louis over the last week and one woman has taken to TikTok to voice her frustration.

TikTok user LamaraIndigo‘s video has been viewed more than 340,000 times in less than 24 hours.

In the video, she said someone is intentionally shooting and killing Black women. She says they are not being assaulted or robbed, just killed.

Of the shootings and killings in St. Louis City involving women over the last week, there were two Black women and one white woman killed, six Black women shot, and one Hispanic woman shot.

LamaraIndigo says she thinks people in St. Louis who have lived here their whole lives have become desensitized to all the violence.

She says she doesn’t think anyone is doing anything about it and says, “this is me doing something”.

LamarIndigo suggests the violence isn’t the work of normal St. Louisians and says she thinks someone is coming in from out of the area to commit these crimes.

LamarIndigo specifically mentions two incidents. One of the crimes involved two women being murdered and a third one shot on the 2900 block of Kossuth on September 17. Police are investigating that incident.

She also mentioned the murder of Pamela Abercrombie, a 49-year-old from Spanish Lake. Abercrombie was killed following a shooting on the 3800 block of W. Florissant just before midnight on September 16. Police say her body was found lying on the sidewalk suffering from gunshot wounds.

Abercrombie’s death and the shooting of a 28-year-old on the 4500 block of Adelaide prompted the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to issue a public safety alert. The alert was regarding multiple crimes against sex workers in the city.

Police say sex workers have been targeted and either shot or shot at by unknown suspects. Police are also investigating two August robberies on Cote Brilliante. Investigators say those incidents involved a suspect named “D” that had been meeting women on the MegaPersonals dating app for consensual sex. Police say “D” would then rob the women.

Abercrombie’s murder is also one of three St. Louis City and County police say are connected incidents. Here are the other two incidents:

  • Casey Ross, 24-year-old black male, killed on Sept. 16 on the 1500 block of Mullanphy
  • Marnay Hayes, 16-year-old black female, killed on Sept. 13 on the 9900 block of Glen Owen Drive

Many people have recently been searching on Google for the terms “serial killer” and “St. Louis”. St. Investigators stated that the suspect or suspects involved in the connected cases is unknown at this time.

FOX2 reached out to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and they said because the suspects are unknown, these cases are not being investigated as serial killings. Police also said the investigations are still ongoing and will provide updates as they become available.

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FDA backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for seniors, high-risk



FDA backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for seniors, high-risk

The U.S. moved a step closer Wednesday to offering booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens and others at high risk from the virus as the Food and Drug Administration signed off on the targeted use of the extra shots.

The FDA authorized booster doses for Americans who are 65 and older, younger adults with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high-risk for COVID-19. The ruling represents a drastically scaled back version of the Biden administration’s sweeping plan to give third doses to nearly all American adults to shore up their protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

However, more regulatory hurdles lie ahead before the dispensing of boosters can begin.

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened a two-day meeting Wednesday to make their own, more specific recommendations about who should get the extra shots and when. And in their first day of discussions, some experts were so perplexed by the questions surrounding the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off a decision for a month in hopes of more evidence.

The uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month.

The FDA decision Wednesday was expected after the agency’s own panel of advisers last week overwhelmingly rejected the Biden plan. The panel instead recommended boosters only for those most vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19.

FDA acting commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement that the FDA authorization would allow for boosters in health care workers, teachers, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons.

“As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” Woodcock said.

The timing of the FDA decision was highly unusual given that the agency typically takes action before the CDC convenes its own experts.

The CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes.

Ultimately the committee must decide who is considered at high enough risk for an extra dose. Data provided by Pfizer and the Israeli government suggests a strong case for boosters in people 65 and older, but there is less evidence that extra shots provide much benefit for younger people with underlying health conditions.

Several CDC advisers agreed boosters are also important for keeping health care workers on the job.

“We don’t have enough health care workers to take care of the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University. “They just keep coming.”

The CDC has already said it is considering boosters for older people, nursing home residents and front-line health care workers, rather than all adults.

The World Health Organization and other global health advocates are opposed to wealthy nations dispensing a third round of shots when poor countries don’t have enough vaccine for their first doses. And many independent scientists say that the vaccines continue to perform well against the worst effects of COVID-19 and that their ability to curb the overall trajectory of the epidemic is uncertain.

U.S. regulators will decide at a later date on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. They indicated the shots would not be recommended for people who got a different brand of vaccine initially.

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Ticker: Leicester to buy Becker College campus; Netflix buys Wonka author Dahl’s catalog



Ticker: Leicester to buy Becker College campus; Netflix buys Wonka author Dahl’s catalog

Voters in Leicester have overwhelmingly approved the town’s purchase of the campus of now-closed Becker College.

The town will move forward with an assessment of the property to determine how the buildings will be used, whether any should be sold and what is needed for maintenance, The Telegram & Gazette reported.

The college, which had campuses in Leicester and Worcester, announced in March that it would close due to financial strains made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. It held its final graduation in May.

The select board’s negotiated price for all of Becker’s holdings, as well as repairs and other possible expenses, was nearly $20 million.

Netflix buys Wonka author Dahl’s catalog

Netflix has acquired the works of Roald Dahl, the late British author of celebrated children’s books such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

The video streaming giant said Wednesday that it acquired the Roald Dahl Story Co., which manages the rights to the author’s characters and stories. No financial terms were disclosed.

The deal builds on a partnership struck in 2018 to create a slate of animated TV series, under which “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is getting a reboot by Academy Award winning filmmaker Taika Waititi and Netflix is working with Sony on an adaptation of “Matilda the Musical.”

Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74 but his books, which also include “The BFG,” “The Twits” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” remain popular with young readers, with more than 300 million copies sold worldwide and translations in 63 languages.

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