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Here’s your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin’!)
In local news:
• Following the 2020 Census, Oregon is getting a sixth Congressional district because its population has grown substantially since 2010. It’ll be up to the Oregon Legislature to figure out what Oregon’s new Congressional map will look like this year.
• Oregon’s COVID-19 case count continues to surge, with another 780 new cases and one death reported yesterday. Most of the new cases can be attributed to the more-contagious B.1.1.7 variant, first spotted in Britain in December. (But don’t worry—vaccines protect against the variants.)
• Yesterday, federal agents arrested a Hillsboro man for allegedly assaulting a federal law officer at the US Capitol on January 6—the Oregonian‘s got the full story.
• Anthony Tolliver, a 30-year-old Portlander, was killed in a hit-and-run collision on NE 82nd Avenue over the weekend. Tolliver was crossing the street on foot when was he struck by a driver. This is the 23rd traffic fatality Portland has seen in 2021.
In national news:
• Other interesting outcomes from the 2020 Census: Florida and Texas are also picking up congressional seats, New York lost a seat because its census count was short 89 people, and we can expect lots of gerrymandering as states draw up new congressional maps.
• The Department of Homeland Security is finally doing something useful: Conducting an internal review of itself, in order to identify and root out any white supremacy within the agency. This is part of a wider Biden administration effort to curb white supremacy within the federal government, following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
• The United States plans to share 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine with other countries who aren’t as vaccine-rich as we are. The vaccine currently isn’t approved for use in the US, and it’ll need to be cleared by the FDA over the next few weeks before being shipped off to those who need it.
• Meanwhile, tech billionaire Bill Gates is facing criticism after he said that vaccine patents shouldn’t be lifted in order to manufacture and distribute COVID vaccines more quickly. Gates’ stated reasoning is that developing countries don’t have proper facilities for producing vaccines safely, but health advocates say Gates’ beliefs are “disgusting,” and are really about protecting his pharmaceutical friends’ profits.
And just for fun:
• Today’s Takeout Club celebrates Spielman Bagels for having a solid “Portland bagel,” AND for their technology-forward approach to takeout, which is seamless, easy, and without hiccups.
• And finally, just in case you missed this moment from last night’s Oscars: