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Duck-billed dinosaur may be one of many at Missouri site

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Duck-billed dinosaur may be one of many at Missouri site

SELIGMAN, Mo. (AP) — Police say the body of a man killed in northwestern Arkansas was found last week in southwestern Missouri, and two suspects in the case were later arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Officers called to an apartment unit in Springdale, Arkansas, on Nov. 23 said they found a trail of blood leading from the apartment. A man there said a group of men had shown up, argued with 39-year-old Richard Phillips then forced Phillips to leave with them.

Police say four days later on Nov. 27, a group of hunters discovered Phillips’ body north of Seligman, Missouri.

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Opinion: Tina Peters should not resume Mesa County election duties until she apologizes

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Mesa County Clerk who embraced conspiracy theories given 3 days to accept election security oversight

One reason the 2020 presidential election was called the “most secure in American history” was that election administrators across the political spectrum faithfully put the conduct of free and fair elections before any partisan or personal interests. Until Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters demonstrates a similar commitment, she should be barred from resuming her role overseeing the conduct of its elections.

While conspiracy theorists, who did not respect the will of the voters in the 2020 presidential election, attempt to replace impartial election officials in positions across the country, in Mesa County, the perpetrator has already been inside the building. Despite occupying Mesa County’s top election official role since 2018, Clerk Peters has not overseen the county’s elections since August 2021, when she was stripped of her election official duties by the Colorado Secretary of State.

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Prosecutors: Video will show 3 cops violated Floyd’s rights

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Prosecutors: Video will show 3 cops violated Floyd’s rights

By AMY FORLITI and STEVE KARNOWSKI

Prosecutors played video from a police body camera Tuesday as witness testimony resumed at the federal civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights as fellow Officer Derek Chauvin killed him.

Former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are broadly charged with depriving Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority. Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin knelt on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the 46-year-old Black man was facedown, handcuffed and gasping for air. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders from intervening in the videotaped killing that triggered worldwide protests and a reexamination of racism and policing.

Prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson that they did not plan to play all of the video evidence in court, but want it available to the jury when they deliberate.

Prosecutor Samantha Trepel, who works for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said during opening statements Monday that the videos will show the three officers stood by as Chauvin “slowly killed George Floyd right in front of them” and told jurors that they “will ask you to hold these men accountable.”

But it was Chauvin, the senior officer at the scene, who called “all of the shots,” one defense attorney told jurors, adding that the Minneapolis Police Department did too little to train officers to intervene when a colleague should be stopped.

Another officer’s attorney focused on Floyd’s struggle with police before they restrained him. And an attorney for the third officer said his client raised concerns about the restraint of Floyd, but was rebuffed.

Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter last year in state court. He also pleaded guilty to a federal count of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Kueng, who is Black; Lane, who is white; and Thao, who is Hmong American, are all charged for failing to provide Floyd with medical care. Thao and Kueng face an additional count for failing to stop Chauvin, who is white. Both counts allege the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death.

Attorneys for both Kueng and Thao noted that prosecutors must prove the officers willfully violated Floyd’s constitutional rights — a high legal standard that essentially requires prosecutors to prove the officers knew what they were doing was wrong, but did it anyway.

Tom Plunkett, Kueng’s attorney, highlighted the rookie status of his client and Lane, who were responding to a 911 call accusing Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes at a corner market. Thao and Chauvin responded as backup.

“You’ll see and hear officer Chauvin call all of the shots,” Plunkett said.

Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, said Lane was at Floyd’s legs and could not see Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck.

Lane at one point suggested that they use a restraint called the hobble on Floyd, which would have meant Floyd would have been on his side “and no doubt he’d be alive today,” Gray said. But he said Chauvin said no. Lane also suggested twice that they roll Floyd over, but was rebuffed, Gray said.

Gray also said Lane called an ambulance because of a cut on Floyd’s lip and later had another officer increase the urgency of the ambulance code. Gray noted that Lane got into the ambulance and helped perform chest compressions on Floyd.

Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, said Floyd’s death was a tragedy, “however, a tragedy is not a crime.” He also said a widely watched bystander video of the arrest does not show everything, including Floyd struggling with officers who were trying to put him in a police vehicle.

Gray said Lane will testify, but it’s not known if Thao or Kueng will. It’s also not clear whether Chauvin will testify, though many experts who spoke to The Associated Press believe he won’t.

Magnuson has said the trial could last four weeks.

Lane, Kueng and Thao also face a separate state trial in June on charges they aided and abetted both murder and manslaughter.

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Associated Press writer Tammy Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan.

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Pfizer begins testing omicron-matched COVID shots in adults

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Pfizer begins testing omicron-matched COVID shots in adults

By LAURAN NEERGAARD

Pfizer is enrolling healthy adults to test a reformulated COVID-19 vaccine that matches the hugely contagious omicron variant, to see how it compares with the original shots.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced the study on Tuesday.

COVID-19 vaccine-makers have been updating their shots to better match omicron in case global health authorities decide the change is needed.

Omicron is more likely than previous variants to cause infection even in people who’ve been vaccinated, but it’s not yet clear that a change to the vaccine recipe will be ordered. Among the issues regulators are weighing: Some of the first places to face an omicron surge already are seeing the mutant wane — and there’s no way to know if the next variant that arises will resemble omicron or be totally different.

The original vaccines still offer good protection against severe illness and death. Studies in the U.S. and elsewhere have made clear that adding a booster dose strengthens that protection and improves the chances of avoiding even a milder infection.

“We recognize the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address omicron and new variants in the future,” Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s vaccine research chief, said in a statement.

The new U.S. study will include up to 1,420 volunteers ages 18 to 55 to test the updated omicron-based shots for use as a booster or for primary vaccinations. Researchers will examine the tweaked vaccine’s safety and how it revs up the immune system in comparison to the original shots.

Full study results will take many months as volunteers receive multiple vaccine doses — and as researchers measure how long virus-fighting antibodies remain at high levels after an omicron-adapted dose versus the regular booster.

Pfizer’s CEO told CNBC earlier this month that the company could have some omicron-matched doses ready as early as March. But doing what the company calls “at-risk” manufacturing doesn’t mean those doses will be rolled out to the public. Pfizer and other vaccine makers also have brewed and tested experimental doses to match previous variants, changes that ultimately weren’t needed but offered valuable practice at tweaking the recipe.

For the new study, one group of about 600 volunteers who received two doses of the current Pfizer vaccine three to six months ago will receive either one or two omicron-based shots as boosters. Another 600 who have already gotten three regular doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be given a fourth dose of either the regular vaccine or the omicron-matched version.

The study also will enroll some unvaccinated volunteers who will receive three doses of the omicron-based vaccine.

Pfizer plans to produce 4 billion vaccine doses in 2022, and said Tuesday the amount isn’t expected to change if an omicron-adapted version is needed.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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