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FDA approves first coronavirus vaccine for emergency use

Plus: U.S. Supreme Court rejects bid to throw out election results in four battleground states; defense attorney asks judge in George Floyd case to move back trial; Brooklyn Park police officer wounded by gunfire; and more.

In the Washington Post, Laurie McGinley and Carolyn Y. Johnson write: “The Food and Drug Administration on Friday gave emergency use authorization to the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine, launching what scientists hope will be a critical counteroffensive against a pathogen that has killed more than 290,000 Americans, shredded the nation’s social and political fabric and devastated the economy. The historic authorization of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for people age 16 and older, just 336 days after the genetic blueprint of a novel coronavirus was shared online by Chinese scientists, sets in motion a highly choreographed and complex distribution process aimed at speeding vaccines throughout the United States to curb the pandemic.”

The New York Times’ Adam Liptak writes: “The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a lawsuit by Texas that had asked the court to throw out the election results in four battleground states that President Trump lost in November, ending any prospect that a brazen attempt to use the courts to reverse his defeat at the polls would succeed. … The order, coupled with another one on Tuesday turning away a similar request from Pennsylvania Republicans, signaled that a conservative court with three justices appointed by Mr. Trump refused to be drawn into the extraordinary effort by the president and many prominent members of his party to deny his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his victory.”

For MPR, Jon Collins writes: “A defense attorney for one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing is asking the judge in the case to push the trial back until next summer because he says prosecutors have dragged their feet in turning over important evidence. Attorney Robert Paule, who is representing former officer Tou Thao, said in a filing Friday that prosecutors failed to turn over about 15,000 pages of evidence by the deadline in mid-August.”

Also from MPR: “A Brooklyn Park police officer was wounded late Friday in an exchange of gunfire with a man while responding to a domestic disturbance call. The adult male suspect also suffered a gunshot wound, police said. Authorities said the injuries to both the officer and the suspect are not life-threatening. Police in the Twin Cities suburb said the shooting happened just after 10 p.m. on the 6500 block of Georgia Avenue North, as officers responded to a 911 call about a disturbance ‘involving a male who had an order for protection against him.’”

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KSTP-TV’s Tommy Wilta reports: “Friday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey officially signed the city’s 2021 budget, which includes a varied approach to public safety. The budget will maintain Frey’s proposed officer staffing level as well as investing in new community safety initiatives. Frey prioritized maintaining a sworn compliment of 888, a critical measure that will effectively provide city leadership with the ability to add sworn officers based on the results of a mutually-agreed upon staffing study and future economic conditions, according to the mayor’s office.”

The Associated Press reports: “The owner of a historic St. Cloud bar has been indicted on federal arson and wire fraud charges for allegedly setting fire to the business and submitting a fraudulent insurance claim, prosecutors announced Friday. Andrew Welsh, 41, of St. Joseph, was arrested Friday by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He is accused of burning down the Press Bar and Parlor, a century-old establishment in downtown St. Cloud. Damage was estimated at $1 million.”

Also from the AP: “The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear arguments over the weekend on President Donald Trump’s state lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots and overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state. The court’s decision to take the case, and to hear arguments on Saturday, came hours after a lower court judge ruled against Trump and said there was nothing illegal about the election or subsequent recount in the state’s two largest counties. The highly unusual Saturday arguments will come exactly 48 hours before Monday’s scheduled Electoral College vote.”