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Here's how you can help Texans recover from deadly winter storm

Matthew McConaughey, NBA's Myles Turner and more come together to help Texas. Here's how you can help too.
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Hundreds mourn Myanmar’s ‘Everything will be OK’ protester
Hundreds of mourners gathered in Myanmar on Thursday for the funeral of a 19-year-old protester shot and killed at a demonstration against military rule. Angel, also known as Kyal Sin, was shot in the head and killed in the city of Mandalay on Wednesday while wearing a shirt bearing the message “Everything will be OK”....
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How To Watch ‘Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years’
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SPACs, the investment term you won’t stop hearing about, explained
Lucid Motors is one of the many companies that is going public using SPACs. | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images Six questions about SPACs, answered. Forget the pandemic. Forget the recession. Investors are tripping over themselves to put their money into soon-to-be-public companies, and those companies are more than happy to try and list on the public markets. And to do so, most are not going the traditional route of an initial public offering, or IPO. They’re looking for something faster: a SPAC. The term SPAC stands for special purpose acquisition company, which is essentially a publicly listed pile of cash meant to buy a private company. SPACs have become the main maneuver through which companies list on the stock market. Some see these vehicles as a smart way to invest in newly public companies, while others say unchecked enthusiasm for these financial products bears similarities to the dot-com boom and bust two decades ago. Indeed, the word “bubble” keeps bubbling up around SPACs. And new SPACs are coming out every day. In just the first two months of this year, 180 SPACs listed on major stock exchanges, according to data from University of Florida professor and IPO expert Jay Ritter. At an annualized rate, that would mean more than 1,000 SPACs in 2021 — more listings than any year in history for SPACs and traditional IPOs combined. As of the beginning of March, SPACs have raised $64 billion, according to financial markets platform Dealogic, $20 billion shy of their record 2020 total. That means huge piles of cash to invest in mergers with private companies. Once an obscure investment vehicle, SPACs are seeing interest from retail investors: normal people who don’t invest for a living, like those trading on Robinhood. They’ve been spurred by pandemic boredom and stimulus checks, as well as a number of recent, high-profile SPACs that have performed uncharacteristically well, like DraftKings. There are a number of pros and cons to SPACS, and a variety of ways the SPAC boom could play out, especially now that there’s increased interest from retail investors. So here’s what you need to know about the hottest stock type on Wall Street. What is a SPAC? A SPAC is a shell company that goes public with the express purpose of raising money to buy an actual company (or companies). This effectively brings the operating company public more quickly than through an IPO. A SPAC has two years either to find a private company to merge with or return investors’ money. People can invest in SPACs much like they would any other stock, but until it merges with another company, there’s no way to know how viable it is. And when those mergers are announced, the companies involved are frequently not only unprofitable, they often don’t even have revenue. Unlike regular stocks, however, people can get out of the deal and redeem a guaranteed $10 per share before the merger is finalized, so if they paid close to $10 a share, they have little to lose if they don’t like the merger. This year, a number of high-profile SPACs have gone public, including Churchill Capital IV, which recently announced it was merging with Lucid Motors, an electric vehicle company that hasn’t yet manufactured a vehicle. The stock traded as high as $64 before the anticipated announcement and is now around $24, suggesting investors were either disappointed with Lucid’s production schedule or with the terms of the deal. Who makes/loses money off SPACs? SPACs are created by a sponsor, often an industry executive, who puts in about $5 million to $10 million of his or her own money in exchange for about 20 percent of shares in the future merged company. If the SPAC finds a company to merge with for a good price, the sponsor stands to make tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. If the SPAC doesn’t complete an attractive merger, the sponsor could lose their initial investment. Still, even if investors lose money, the sponsor can still make lots of it. Michael Ohlrogge, a law professor at New York University who researches SPACs, calculated that the sponsor of Clover Health, which was trading earlier this week under its initial offering price, still made approximately $150 million. In addition to getting the opportunities to buy SPAC shares at $10 each — and sell them back at that price if they don’t like the company — early investors also get to keep a stock warrant, which entitles them to buy stock at a set price for the next few years. Ohlrogge likens it to timeshares offering free flights in order to give people their sales pitch, with the hope that those people will decide to buy the timeshare (if they don’t, they still got free flights). “It’s wonderful for the people who do it,” he told Recode. “It’s free money.” The situation isn’t so rosy for regular retail investors, who can only buy SPACs when they hit the public markets, when the price is usually higher than $10. The further the price is from $10, the more retail investors stand to lose even before the merger is closed. For example, if you buy a SPAC at $15 but then don’t like the merger, you’ll only get $5 back if you try to redeem it instead of holding onto the stock. After mergers, SPACs have historically underperformed. What’s the difference between a SPAC and a regular IPO? Both IPOs and SPACs are ways for a company to raise money. SPACs are a faster, but not necessarily cheaper, way to go public. When you invest in a SPAC before it’s merged with a private company, you’re essentially investing in the SPAC’s sponsor, with the belief that their SPAC will make a good merger. With an IPO, you know what company you’re investing in. And in the case of Churchill Capital IV, people were investing in its sponsor company and its history of well-performing SPACs, as well as in Lucid, which many had speculated would be the target. SPACs also receive less regulatory scrutiny than IPOs. A core difference between SPACs and IPOs is how the companies involved can sell the deal to potential investors. Due to an unintentional legal loophole, SPAC sponsors — wealthy, often high-profile, charismatic individuals — can make promises about their companies without as much legal liability should those promises not come true. In turn, those rosy projections can help the company gain larger valuations. Companies doing an IPO, however, are constrained by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules from making claims about the future growth of their companies, making them “legally vulnerable to lawsuits in a way SPACs are not,” according to Tulane business law professor Ann Lipton. It’s a lot easier to sell people on the idea that a company is a good buy when you aren’t on the hook if those promises don’t come true. Why are they so popular right now? A lot has been written about SPACs recently, and their popularity has begotten more popularity. Last year, there were four times as many SPACs as the year before, according to Ritter’s data. This year, we’re on track for four times as many as last year. High-profile SPACs, like the electric truck maker Nikola and DraftKings, have captured interest from institutional and retail investors alike. Popular SPAC sponsors, including early Facebook executive and so-called king of SPACs Chamath Palihapitiya as well as a spate of celebrity endorsements, including those of Jay-Z and Steph Curry, have made SPAC investment even more compelling. “There’s a really strong appeal among people that there’s a smart person making investment decisions on their behalf who’s going to make them a lot of money,” NYU’s Ohlrogge said. Additionally, many SPACs are looking for mergers in popular sectors like electric vehicles, where investors are hoping to replicate gains like Tesla, whose stock price is up more than 1,000 percent in the last two years. “I think it’s partly a case of investors chasing past returns,” Ritter told Recode. “The last few months have been very good for SPAC investors, and money tends to follow past returns.” The stock market is also doing well right now and, and as Bloomberg’s Matt Levine noted, SPACs are viewed as a way to capitalize on current market conditions in order to take a company public in the future, when the conditions may not be as good. What’s the catch? If investors put their money in SPACs and hold onto those stocks after the merger, they’re likely to lose more money, on average, than if they invested in regular IPOs. While SPACs might be a sure thing for those institutional investors who are able to buy shares at $10 and redeem their money if they don’t like the eventual merger, the value proposition is less clear for those who get in later on. In a study of nearly 50 SPAC mergers in 2019 and 2020, Ohlrogge found that a year after mergers, returns on SPACs were nearly 50 percent lower than for a basket of IPOs. Ohlrogge also found that some 97 percent of those who bought SPACs at the IPO either redeemed or sold their stock by the time the merger closed. What happens next? SPACs could be a victim of their own popularity. “There’s now so much money chasing deals, it’s going to be harder and harder to pull off attractive mergers,” Ritter said. That could mean SPAC sponsors having to eat their investments if they don’t find a good merger. If historical SPAC performance is any indication, investors in companies that do complete mergers and go public aren’t necessarily safe either. Even people benefiting from the SPAC boom are wary. David Solomon, CEO of big SPAC underwriter Goldman Sachs, said earlier this year that the trend is not “sustainable in the medium term.” SPACs may also come under more regulatory scrutiny as the SEC takes a closer look at how they operate and how well they’re understood by retail investors. For now, SPACs are in a very buzzy space, but when the buzz stops, they’re liable to sting.
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Myanmar police break up protests again after bloodiest day since coup
Police broke up demonstrations with tear gas and gunfire in several cities across Myanmar on Thursday, as protesters returned to the streets undeterred by the bloodiest day yet in a crackdown on opponents of last month’s military coup. The United Nations said 38 people had been killed during Wednesday’s demonstrations, far more in a single...
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Julius Randle’s desire to stay puts massive decision on Knicks
Julius Randle cracked a smile when asked about his long-term future with the franchise. Does he want to be a Knick for life? “It’s always a thought,” the 26-year-old Randle said. “When I came here almost two years ago, that was the plan. I wanted to be here long term. I want to be a Knick. So...
Brian Cashman: ‘No promises’ for Domingo German in Yankees return
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Brian Cashman understands why some Yankees teammates have expressed discomfort with Domingo German’s return to the team following his suspension for domestic violence, but the general manager defended the organization’s handling of the situation. During the first week of spring training, German’s status emerged as the biggest issue in Yankees camp. The...
Derek Chauvin trial: Minneapolis businesses prepare for new round of potential riots
As the Derek Chauvin trial is set to begin with jury selection on Monday, some Minneapolis business owners are cautiously bracing for potentially another round of unrest and mayhem after recently getting back on their feet from the criminal rioting last June that resulted in an estimated $500 million in damage in Minneapolis alone.
Inside the ‘supersonic’ jet that could fly from NYC to London in 90 minutes
The makers of a new supersonic jet that could someday fly between New York and London in 90 minutes have revealed the plane’s luxe interior. Spike Aerospace’s S-512 Supersonic Jet won’t have windows in order to increase fuel efficiency and keep the cabin quiet, according to the Telegraph. Instead, the inside walls will be lined...
A West Virginia pharmacist on how the state became a vaccine success story
West Virginians receive vaccines at the Charleston Convention Center and Coliseum in Charleston, West Virginia in February. The state has one of the leading vaccination rates in the nation. | Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images West Virginia’s high vaccination rate is in part due to its high number of locally run pharmacies that have gained trust in the community. As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues across America, it’s become clear that the process is anything but streamlined — many have been left feeling confused and helpless about getting an appointment scheduled, the privileged seem to have easier access to vaccines, and states are going about the process in highly individualized ways. One success story, however, has been vaccination in West Virginia. The state isn’t typically known for great health outcomes — it has one of the worst life expectancies in the nation due to high rates of drug overdose, diabetes, and heart disease. But West Virginia has become a national leader on vaccination, boasting one of the highest rates in the world. The state’s success is due in part to its history of turning to the National Guard to help handle emergencies like flooding and other disasters. Given that, it’s no surprise that Gov. Jim Justice decided to skip the federal plan, which partnered with CVS and Walgreens, instead relying on the National Guard and a strong network of local pharmacies to handle the distribution. In West Virginia, due to a 1963 law, local pharmacies outnumber the national chains. Many are operated by people who grew up in the community, know their customers well, and have existing relationships with nursing homes for distributing flu vaccines. The result has been swift and decisive: To date, 15 percent of the population has received the first vaccine shot, 9.3 percent are fully vaccinated, and 108.1 percent of the state’s total doses have been used (they were able to achieve above 100 percent by squeezing extra doses out of some of the vaccine vials they received). Drew Massey is in charge of vaccinations at Fruth Pharmacy, a small family-owned general store and pharmacy chain based in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. (Since its first store opened in 1952, Fruth has expanded and includes 29 stores, mostly in West Virginia but also in Ohio and Kentucky.) Massey grew up in rural West Virginia in a family of educators and coal miners and spent more than a decade working as a pharmacist at Kmart before moving to Fruth in 2014, where he has worked his way up to director of pharmacy operations. Massey says he’s delivered more than 6,000 vaccinations — at nursing facilities, schools, and community events. “To date,” he told Vox, “we have not wasted a single dose.” Here’s what it’s been like for Massey to deliver vaccines to small communities across West Virginia. At Fruth, I oversee all the clinical services, the scheduling, and the staffing. I’m one of about six people on our leadership team. It’s a very tight-knit, close team. At the end of my first day at Fruth, we had done several hundred prescriptions. In my old life, I would have gone home feeling like somebody had just basically dragged me over a bunch of hot coals. But I told my wife, “You know what? I have totally had it wrong for so many years. I don’t even feel like I’ve done a thing today.” At one of our stores, older clientele come in, get a root beer out of the machine, sit down, and, honest-to-goodness, if it’s queued three hours to fill the prescription they wouldn’t care. It’s like an episode out of Andy Griffith. Honestly, you don’t see that anymore. When Covid-19 started, we saw lockdowns coming and tried to figure out how to protect ourselves and other people. We noticed early on that people didn’t want to go into places that they considered crowded — so they would come to our stores to pick up staples or food because they didn’t want to go to the big grocery stores or Walmart. On a very small leadership team, you don’t have to go through legal departments and all those other hoops to get [Covid-19 safety] things approved. For example, we started with shower curtains to set up as temporary barriers for Covid-19 safety. We had everything in place before anybody in our area even thought of it. Our leadership team does our drive-through testing. I think this is what’s amazing about a small pharmacy versus a big pharmacy — I would never even see the leaders of one of the big chains. But my customers can interact with everybody who makes decisions in the company. They can talk about things that were good or bad. It makes them feel like the pharmacy team is more like a family than a company. Here’s how we started vaccinations: Basically, Governor Justice decided that he wanted to get the nursing homes done and asked me how many nursing homes I can distribute to. I looked through my schedule and said, “I could probably do four to six facilities a week, if they’re big.” That’s if you’re going to do 100 to 300 shots — and I could do four to six a week to fit around my regular work. We started to see what we could do. I figured out the sweet spots for how many pharmacists I needed to have, and how many people I needed on data entry. But the main thing I told the pharmacists was: “We’re not wasting a dose.” To date, we have not wasted a single dose. Nowadays we distribute our vaccines at community vaccination events, with makeshift clinics opened in every single West Virginia county. But in the early days, we would just take some vaccines and drive to our customers’ homes to see who we could give them to. That first week we got the doses, I was driving out to the homes of people who I had identified were either health care workers that needed to be immunized, or people over 80 who had multiple health conditions, to give them shots. At first, I had to figure that out myself. In small communities you learn a certain amount just through family members asking for assistance, but I also got a list from the health department of citizens who had called in to say they were unable to leave their house to get a shot. After that, we identified people with the health department and the people who registered in our stores, so I could basically have a list of people to give the extra shot to. On a typical day, I’d be out driving around 6:30 am and would give shots from eight until roughly 5 or 6 pm, and sometimes up until 10 pm. I’d be going from place to place giving shots. At this point, I’ve given probably 6,000 shots. I’ll never forget the 94-year-old lady I vaccinated who lives in Hometown, West Virginia, a tiny town, located 45 minutes from Point Pleasant, with probably 500 or 600 people. I met her grandson on the way over, and we pulled up to her little modest house on the river. I walked up to the door and started talking to this lady — at 94, she’s sweet as a pie and sharp as a tack. She looks at me and she’s like, “Honey, I would just like to get to the store. My kids have had me locked in this house since March, and I’m thinking maybe if I get these shots, I can get to the store.” One of the biggest things that has been a success for West Virginia is the fact that people value our opinion — and that’s because we’re their most accessible health care professional. How many times have you called your doctor’s office to talk to your doctor and your doctor actually finds the time to talk to you? How many times have you called the pharmacy and asked for a pharmacist and talked to one of us? You can get a hold of us, and people put a lot of trust into that and my promises. It’s a lot of responsibility, too, because we need to have good information. West Virginia has a higher percentage of independent pharmacies than much of the rest of the country. We depend on our people to stay in business. When Walmart loses a customer, for example, even if they’re pharmacy customers, they’re probably still going to shop at the store. But if you lose a pharmacy customer at a Fruth, they don’t come back and shop at your store — you lose them completely. I’ve had several people who are nervous about the shot, and I’ll talk them through the process. I try to make them more comfortable by discussing the procedure and risks. Then I ask them, “Are you ready to do this?” and most of the time they’ll say that they are. For those who are unsure about taking it, I say: “Look at how well the shot works in comparison to other things.” It’s unprecedented to see shots that say they protect you in the 90 percentile range. It’s a lot of protection. Then I’ll tell people, “You’re protecting others too.” From the pharmacist feedback I hear, most of the people who are on the fence are the younger people who are thinking they can just push through Covid-19. Or they’ve already pushed through it — and they didn’t have a problem with it. You have to tell them: “The protection’s not for you, the protection’s for everybody you’re around. It’s for the lady who lives across the street from you. It’s for your grandmother at home, or people who have health problems and may not be able to fend it off because you may be an asymptomatic carrier.” Secondly, I tell them: “If you don’t take the vaccine now, you don’t know when it will be available to you again.” I can guarantee you that once it’s available to the masses, and the vaccine supply starts to get tighter, it’s going to be more difficult to go back and get a shot. One lady broke my heart, and I’m not a softy. I didn’t even give any shots that day except for hers. It was at the gym in Hurricane High School. I was walking around checking on things and saw this lady who was crying. There were a couple of ladies with her and they were talking to her. I think they were trying to console her. In my mind, I thought, “Oh my gosh, this lady’s afraid of shots. I’m going to calm her down.” I go over and ask, “Honey, are you comfortable? Are you okay and not just afraid of shots?” The woman behind her, I read her lips — which is a challenge now with a mask — saying “No, she’s not afraid of the shot.” She completed her registration and I walked her to the vaccination station, put on a pair of gloves, and quickly gave her the vaccine. Sometimes you can tell someone just needs a hug, so I gave her one as her friends escorted her to the observation area. The two ladies came back and said, “Bless you.” Her husband passed away unexpectedly that morning. He died from a brain tumor that he didn’t know he had. She lost her husband that morning with no fair warning. She knew that he would have wanted her to get a shot. So she pulled herself together and came over to the building to get it, her friends said — the very same day. I cannot think of a more motivational story about knowing just how important this vaccine is. As told to Hope Reese.
Keilar reacts to Gov. Kemp's take on potential Trump 2024 bid
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Fox News' scrappy White House correspondent grills Biden, who plays along anyway
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US-China tensions threaten global climate change efforts
WASHINGTON — The world’s hopes for curbing climate change hinge on action by two giant nations whose relations are deteriorating: China and the United States. The two countries both say they are intent on retooling their economies to burn less climate-wrecking coal, oil and gas. But tensions between them threaten their ultimate success. China and...
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McDonald's restaurants in Texas and Mississippi to keep dining rooms closed, require masks
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Amazon opens first UK checkout-free grocery store in London
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Trump YouTube suspension will lift after 'risk of violence' decreases, CEO Susan Wojcicki says
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Shomrim founder arrested by feds for alleged rape of 15-year-old girl
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After Calls to Defund Police, Democrats Consider 20% Increase to Capitol Police Budget, Making It Biggest Force in the U.S.
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Longtime Tesla investor Ron Baron dumps nearly 2 million shares
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NY Times slammed for seeking opinion editor with ‘spine of steel’
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TNT's absorbing new docuseries will make you fall in love with Inside the NBA all over again.
Vacunas contra el COVID-19: Estas páginas en español ofrecen información sobre las vacunas y cómo hacer cita
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How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met: The full story
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Looking for COVID vaccine info, appointments in different languages? These online tools can help
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Jen Psaki defends Biden 'Neanderthal' reopening quip targeting Texas and Mississippi
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden’s “neanderthal thinking” quip about states removing their mask mandates was an expression of his “frustration and exasperation.”
"It's not my day to eat:" COVID recession hitting low-wage workers hardest
Scott Pelley goes to Ohio and reports on the people who have lost their income and homes. See the story, Sunday on 60 Minutes.
Texas governor fires back at Biden: Releasing migrants with COVID is ‘Neanderthal thinking’
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott fired back at President Biden on Thursday for accusing him and other red-state leaders of “Neanderthal thinking” for lifting COVID-19 mask mandates — insisting it is the president who has primitive policy logic. In an interview with “Fox and Friends,” Abbott took a swing at Biden after more than 100 illegal...
UFC's Cody Garbrandt shares video of being kicked off Southwest flight over son's mask
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Clinton mocks Republican criticisms of 'cancel culture' in tweet GOP calls 'out of touch'
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Why Stanley Tucci’s Food Series Is Hitting the Spot
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Biden's Commerce Secretary Praises Trump's China Tariffs as 'Effective'
Gina Raimondo described China's behavior as "anti-competitive" and "coercive," adding that the nation's "human rights abuses are horrific."
Ebay Is Removing Listings for Discontinued Dr Seuss Books, Citing 'Offensive Materials Policy'
"We have a strict policy against hate and discrimination to ensure our platform remains a safe, trusted and inclusive environment for our global community of buyers and sellers," the company said in an email on Thursday.
Toddler critically wounded in Houston police shooting: cops
A 1-year-old boy was critically wounded in a police shooting in Houston late Wednesday night. Police said the shooting happened when a robbery suspect being chased by cops tried to carjack a vehicle from a mom pumping gas at a local station and displayed a gun just before midnight. The officer then opened fire, hitting...
What’s standing between Petr Yan and UFC stardom
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Alcee Hastings, once impeached from bench, leads screening of judicial appointments to Biden
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Mark Cuban says he will sell Dallas Mavericks tickets for Dogecoin
Mark Cuban is wagging the Dogecoin. After saying last month that the joke cryptocurrency “has no intrinsic value,” the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks said Thursday he has decided to accept Dogecoin as a payment option for fans of his NBA franchise. “The Mavericks have decided to accept Dogecoin as payment for Mavs tickets...
This upright squat-and-row machine has more than 19,000 reviews—and it's only $90
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Donald Trump's YouTube Channel Will Remain Suspended Over Risk of Violence, CEO Says
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CNN honcho finds silver lining of deadly coronavirus pandemic: ‘It’s really good for ratings’
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'Prison Affair': Nancy Grace examines married guard's sexual relationship with convicted killer inmate
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Villanova issues warning after 4 female students say they were sexually assaulted in dorms
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Skip Bayless inks new $32M Fox deal after ESPN’s failed Stephen A. Smith reunion attempt
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Missouri governor promises vaccine equity
Missouri's governor visited a vaccination site in St. Louis Thursday, as critics in urban parts of his state complain that rural areas are getting more than their proportional share of vaccine. (March 4)