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Police prep for potential violent protests at State Capitol; no credible threats so far

The New York State Capitol is bracing for potential violence and armed protesters in the coming days after FBI warnings about significant threats in online chatter from white supremacy and other far-right groups.

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President-elect Joe Biden is outlining his COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan in Wilmington, Del. Biden has been critical of the current administration's effort and is seeking to speed up the process. The announcement comes a day after Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Watch his remarks live at approximately 3:40 p.m. EST.

[Note: If it is after 3:40 p.m. on Friday, January 15 and the video below does not display, please refresh the page.]

Third Coast International Audio Festival

Join us for the second hour of the annual Best of the Best broadcast from the Third Coast Festival. Listen to winners of the 2020 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition.

Best of the Best is an annual ode to audio storytelling, taking listeners on a journey through the full breadth of what’s possible in stories made from sound.
 

"Songs of Speculation (excerpt)," [abridged] by Jillian Walker and Ben Williams for category-other.

Winner of the 2020 Audio Unbound Award

Civil rights officials at the Department of Health and Human Services issued a series of actions to protect people with disabilities from health care discrimination by medical providers during the pandemic.

The actions, by the Office of Civil Rights, or OCR, at the Department of Health and Human Services, specifically address discrimination related to the denial of treatment for people with disabilities who have COVID-19 or the symptoms of COVID-19. They include:

As nations around the world scramble to start vaccinating against COVID-19, many countries are finding it difficult if not impossible to get the vaccines they want.

Case in point — Argentina. President Alberto Fernández promised to start vaccination campaigns in the South American nation before the end of 2020.

Keeping a physical distance from other humans is more critical than ever in the pandemic, with COVID-19 cases surging and more contagious variants spreading. Yet humans are not very good at it.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Saturday Night Live and The Second City comedy enterprises have announced the recipients of a new training scholarship for diverse, emerging talent. From a pool of some 1,300 applicants, four up and coming comedians were selected: Alexi Bolden, Gabriella "Gabi" Castillo, Kaili Turner and Morgan Van Dyne. The scholarships will cover all of their performance and writing training at Second City and give them access to SNL talent executives.

As the nation grapples with a slower-than-promised coronavirus vaccine rollout, one federal deal to increase factory capacity includes an unusual condition: the manufacturer would be allowed to earmark doses to vaccinate employees and their families, giving them an opportunity to skip the line that public health policymakers have been crafting for months.

The White House push to vaccinate against the coronavirus will have a new name and new leadership under the Biden administration.

The "Operation Warp Speed" name will be retired, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday. She said there was an "urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution." Psaki did not say what the new name will be.

The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands sent a jubilant tweet on Monday, claiming to have "made some history today." He had welcomed Taiwan's de facto ambassador into the U.S. Embassy for a meeting.

Sean Urbanski, a former University of Maryland student who stabbed and killed a Black Army lieutenant at a bus stop in May 2017, was sentenced to life in prison for what prosecutors said was a racially motivated hate crime.

A Prince George's County Circuit Court judge handed down the life sentence for Urbanski, 25. However, the judge denied the prosecution's request for a sentence without parole.

"I'm absolutely satisfied that justice was served," said Maryland State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy, whose office prosecuted the case.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

Some 6,000 workers at Amazon's warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., will begin voting next month on a groundbreaking possibility: the first union in the company's U.S. history.

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