COVID-19 vaccine milestone, Biden in Atlanta, NCAA Tournament: 5 things to know Friday

U.S. on track to reach COVID-19 vaccine milestone

The Biden administration on Friday is expected to mark 100 million coronavirus shots administered in the country. That’s weeks ahead of President Joe Biden’s goal of achieving the milestone within 100 days of his term. “Next week, I’ll announce our next goal to put shots in arms,” Biden said in announcing the news on Thursday. He had directed states to make doses available to all adults no later than May 1, a deadline that many states say they have no trouble meeting. 

  • ‘Safe and effective’: AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine gets green light from Europe’s top drug regulator
  • COVID-19 vaccine near me:Digital tools to help you find vaccination locations
  • Tracking COVID-19 vaccine distribution by state:How many people have been vaccinated in the US?

Here are the most startling statistics a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.


Biden, Harris to meet with Asian American leaders in Atlanta

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Asian American leaders in Atlanta on Friday in response to fears after a gunman’s shooting rampage killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, at three spas in the area. Zheng Yu Huang, president of the Chinese American leadership group Committee of 100, praised the Biden administration for starting to address the concerns of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. “But there is a huge amount of work that needs to be done around education, training, funding and community outreach at the federal, state and local levels to put an end to the anti-Asian xenophobia and hate,” Huang said. The trip to Atlanta was arranged prior to the shootings for the president to tout benefits of his recently approved $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. That political piece of the trip now has been postponed, the White House said, “given the tragedy in Georgia.” 

  • Who gets to decide what is racism, hate? Atlanta shootings renew debate over white violence and privilege
  • Recounting what happened: He was getting a massage for his back pain. Then the shooter walked in and started killing people
  • Business owner, Army veteran, woman on a date:The victims of the deadly rampage through 3 spas in Georgia
  • Georgia spa shooting suspect, charged with 8 counts of murder, attended rehab for sex addiction

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng called out Republicans and former President Donald Trump at a hearing about discrimination against Asian-Americans.


Judge in Derek Chauvin trial to rule on defense’s requests

The judge in Derek Chauvin’s trial will rule Friday on the defense’s requests to delay the proceedings and to submit evidence related to George Floyd’s 2019 arrest. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Floyd last May, which sparked worldwide protests over racism and police brutality. All twelve jurors for the trial have now been selected after several were cut over concerns about impartiality. On Thursday, after a week and a half of questioning prospective jurors on their views on discrimination, policing people of color and Black Lives Matter, lead defense attorney Eric Nelson told a prospective juror, “This case is not about race.”

  • Minneapolis leaders promised big changes in policing after George Floyd’s death.Keeping them is taking longer than some hoped.
  • ‘Same issues have arisen again and again’:LAPD mishandled George Floyd protests last summer, report finds

Attorneys at the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death have moved closer to seating a full jury. They chose three on Thursday, bringing the panel to 12. Two alternates still must be chosen. (March 18)

AP Domestic

NCAA Tournament’s first round gets underway on a different day

The first round of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament will have a different schedule than years past, taking place on Friday and Saturday, with the second round scheduled for Sunday and Monday. Also, all of the games will take place in Indiana, with most of them happening in Indianapolis. The first round will begin with Virginia Tech taking on Florida at 12:15 p.m. ET Friday. Friday’s slate also features two No. 1 seeds in action, with Baylor and Illinois scheduled to take the floor against Hartford and Drexel, respectively. Action kicked off in style Thursday night with the First Four and the cherry on top of a good night featured UCLA sending Michigan State home after pulling away in overtime.    

  • How NCAA March Madness will look contained in Indianapolis
  • Nine most important men’s players capable of dominating the NCAA Tournament bracket
  • Need help with your NCAA Tournament bracket picks?Here’s our experts’ take on March Madness

Sports Pulse: A year after it was taken away from us March Madness is set to return. Dan Wolken details what the tournament will look like given the unprecedented nature of this year's tournament.


Marvel’s ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ premieres on Disney+

Fresh off the success of “WandaVision,” the first Disney+ TV series connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” kicks off its six-episode run Friday. Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier) reprise their roles as Avengers and friends of Steve Rogers/Captain America. The spotlight is on them as they team up in a post-“Avengers: Endgame” world featuring more geopolitical turmoil than ever. But the two heroes do more bickering than bonding to start. “There’s no two people on Earth who are more opposite, so it kind of works perfectly,” Mackie says. Brian Truitt notes that the series is in the “style of a buddy action film, even as it tackles timely themes of patriotism and race.” In her ★★½ (out of four) review, TV critic Kelly Lawler says, “For those who love the punchy, kicky, international espionage Marvel movies, ‘Falcon’ will likely check all the boxes.”

  • Spoiler alert! How that magical ‘WandaVision’ finale sets the stage for the next round of Marvel movies
  • ‘WandaVision’ Season 2? Marvel boss on what’s coming next from the MCU on Disney+
  • MCU connection:Oscar-nominated director Chloé Zhao directs Marvel’s upcoming epic “Eternals”

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan rekindle their buddy action-comedy vibe in Marvel's 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,' premiering on Disney+.


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