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Congressional map derails business in the Missouri Senate

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Congressional map derails business in the Missouri Senate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A group of state senators derailed the agenda Wednesday to stress their frustration with the new congressional map for Missouri.

Members of the Conservative Caucus held up the Senate for hours because the 6 Republican, 2 Democrat map (that passed out of the House last week) is not what they wanted, saying they are prepared to stand their ground as long as it takes.

“My phones have been blowing up in my office for support of a 7 [Republican]-1 [Democrat] or a much strong 6 [Republican]-2 [Democrat] map,” Sen. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) said Wednesday on the floor. “It’s going to have ramifications for the next decade in this state.”

Meetings were canceled and the Senate floor was cleared out for much of the morning and early afternoon, except for those fighting to redraw the lines.

“How does this affect the tone of the session going forward?,” Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) said. “Don’t worry about that, folks, we’re talking about the future of our country.

The only senators on the floor for the longest time were members of the Conservative Caucus, including Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), Sen. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), and Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring).

“I am very optimistic that we are going to come to a solution of some sort,” Eigel said. “I’m not sure if it’s a solution that everybody is going to be happy with, nor am I certain that it’s going to solve every different problem that every member of this body has, but, we are working very hard on that.”

Eigel said just before 1 p.m. to expect a “solution” in the coming hours. Two hours later, the Senate recessed with no answer.

The 6 Republican – 2 Democrat map passed out of a Senate hearing Tuesday by a 9-5 vote. Three Republicans joined two Democrats in voting against the map, concerned that after the November election, the Republicans might lose a seat.

“I felt like people with new information with new revelation of what we could do, was brought forth and then yesterday was ran through the hearing,” Brattin said.

Democrats have previously said they also plan to fight for changes.

“I want a 5 [Republican] – 3 [Democrat] map honestly, I mean, a 5-3 is more representative of what the state of Missouri is and where we are at,” Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, said.

Over in the House, members failed to pass an emergency clause, which puts the map into effect as soon as the governor signs it, compared to waiting until the end of August when the primaries would already be over, which could affect your ballot. During the committee hearing, chairman Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City) proposed an emergency clause for the Senate, which also passed 9-5. If approved in front of the full Senate, it will head back to the House for another vote.

The census data shows the state population grew to 6,154,913 which means each of the eight congressional districts needs an additional 20,000. Both the 1st and the 8th districts lost people, while the 7th gained more residents, meaning lines had to be redrawn.

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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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