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Minnesota native Rem Pitlick felt hurt when Wild placed him on waivers

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Wild winger Rem Pitlick looking to prove himself once again

For Minnesota native Rem Pitlick, his time with the hometown Wild was like a supernova. He burned bright for a short amount of time, then quickly flamed out.

Most remember Pitlick scoring a hat trick during a Nov. 13 game against the Seattle Kraken. At that point he looked like he might be a foundational piece of the future.

As time progressed, though, Pitlick struggled to adapt to his role near the bottom half of the lineup. He saw his playing time decrease, got passed by winger Connor Dewar on the depth chart, and was placed on waivers by the Wild earlier this month.

“I’m not going to lie,” said Pitlick, who played 20 games with the Wild. “It definitely hurt. But it’s a business. You get going again and there are new connections to be made.”

That played out almost immediately as Pitlick was claimed off waivers by Montreal on Jan. 12. He immediately stepped into a role in the top half of the lineup and has a goal and an assist for the Canadiens so far.

“That’s the type of player I want to be,” Pitlick said before Monday’s game against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center. “I think there’s been an opportunity given to me with more ice time and different looks on the (power play).”

Asked about playing against the Wild so soon after being placed on waivers, Pitlick described it as “an odd experience” that he was very much looking forward to.

“I’m doing my best to treat it like a normal game,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting that it’s such a quick turnaround here now that we’re playing them.”

Though he was stung by how his time with the Wild came to an end, Pitlick isn’t looking back now that he’s a member of the Canadiens.

“I know guys kind of go through different evolutions as they try to get to their end,” Pitlick said. “I’m just really excited to be a part of Montreal and do everything I can to make whatever opportunity I’m given work.”

SPURGEON SPEAKS

After returning to the Wild lineup for Saturday’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks, captain Jared Spurgeon is hoping his injury woes are behind him. He suffered the initial lower-body injury during a Nov. 20 game against the Florida Panthers, then re-aggravated it during a Dec. 16 game against the Buffalo Sabres.

“We just took more time with it this time and slow-played it as much as possible,” Spurgeon said of his recovery process. “Obviously, first time it didn’t work out the way we wanted to, so we changed it up a bit.”

TALBOT RETURNS

After missing the past few weeks, goaltender Cam Talbot was back in the crease for Monday’s game.

He suffered the lower-body injury during the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, and while the recovery process took longer than expected, Talbot said it was a good thing to err on the side of caution.

“You don’t want to come back too early,” he said. “We all talked and thought it’d be best to wait a few more days and feel excited and ready to go.”

Meanwhile, fellow goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen quietly boasts a 9-2-2 record this season to go along with a 2.48 goals-against average and 922 save percentage.

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78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US

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78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US

By MICHAEL CONROY

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles arrived Sunday in Indianapolis.

The formula, weighing 78,000 pounds (35,380 kilograms), was being transported by military plane, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Joe Biden flew from South Korea to Japan.

It is the first of several flights carrying infant formula from Europe expected this weekend to relieve the deepening shortage in the U.S. The flights were authorized by Biden.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Indianapolis to greet the arrival of the first shipment in Indianapolis.

The Biden administration — which has struggled to address a nationwide shortage of formula, particularly hypoallergenic varieties — has dubbed the effort “Operation Fly Formula.” The crisis follows the closure of the nation’s largest domestic manufacturing plant in Michigan in February due to safety issues.

The White House has said 132 pallets of Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula was to leave Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the U.S. Another 114 pallets of Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula were expected to arrive in the coming days. Altogether, about 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles of the three formulas, which are hypoallergenic for children with cow’s milk protein allergy, are expected to arrive this week.

Indianapolis was chosen because it is a Nestle distribution hub. The formula will be offloaded into FedEx semitractor-trailers and taken to a Nestle distribution center about a mile away where the company will do a standard quality control check before distributing the supplies to hospitals, pharmacies and doctor’s offices, according to an administration official on site.

Air Force planes are transporting the initial batch of formula because no commercial flights were available this weekend.

The flight was the first of several to provide “some incremental relief in the coming days” as the government works on a more lasting response to the shortage, Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Sunday.

Reese told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Sunday’s flight brought 15% of the specialty medical grade formula needed in the U.S., and because of various actions by the government, people should see “more formula in stores starting as early as this week.”

Longer term, he said, the U.S. needs more formula providers “so that no individual company has this much control over supply chains.”

Under “Operation Fly Formula,” the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services are authorized to request Department of Defense support to pick up overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards, so it can get to store shelves faster, according to the USDA.

Alfamino is primarily available through hospitals and home health care companies that serve patients at home.

U.S. regulators and the manufacturer, Abbott Nutrition, hope to have its Michigan plant reopened next week, but it will take about two months before product is ready for delivery. The Food and Drug Administration this week eased importation requirements for baby formula to try to ease the supply crunch, which has left store shelves void of some brands and some retailers rationing supply for parents nervous about feeding their children.

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WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is ‘most certainly not over’

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WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is ‘most certainly not over’

BERLIN (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over,” the head of the World Health Organization warned Sunday, despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the omicron wave. He told governments that “we lower our guard at our peril.”

The U.N. health agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” He also noted that almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still haven’t been vaccinated.

In a weekly report Thursday on the global situation, WHO said the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to have stabilized after weeks of decline since late March, while the overall number of weekly deaths dropped.

While there has been progress, with 60% of the world’s population vaccinated, “it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” Tedros said.

“Reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions, and this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted,” he added.

Reported deaths are rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage, he said, and only 57 countries — almost all of them wealthy — have vaccinated 70% of their people.

While the world’s vaccine supply has improved, there is “insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines” in some countries, gaps in “operational or financial capacity” in others, he said.

“In all, we see vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation and disinformation,” Tedros said. “The pandemic will not magically disappear, but we can end it.”

Tedros is expected to be appointed for a second five-year term this week at the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the WHO’s member countries.

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Wisconsin couple kills bear that attacked them in their home

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Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s record-breaking kick honored as NFL’s Best Moment of the Year

MEDFORD, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin couple say they killed a bear that attacked them inside their home after they spotted it eating from their bird feeder.

The Taylor County Sheriff’s office said the attack happened around 11 p.m. Friday at a home near Medford in north-central Wisconsin. The couple told authorities that the bear charged through a window after they yelled at it to go away.

Both the husband and wife were injured before they were able to stab the bear with a kitchen knife. Eventually, the man was able to grab a firearm and kill the animal.

The man and woman were treated at a hospital for several bites and other injuries before being released. The couple’s children were asleep in their bedrooms at the time and were not injured.

The sheriff’s office said the bear was an adult female, and one cub was seen running off as the bear ran toward the home. State wildlife officials took the bear for testing. Authorities have not specified what kind of bear it was.

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