Thursday morning news – February 25, 2021

Biden signs order to review U.S. supply chains » President Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to review U.S. supply chains. He said the order is meant to ensure the country doesn’t find itself in a preventable crisis over a shortage of critical items. One example…

BIDEN: Remember the shortages of PPE during the pandemic? We didn’t have gowns or gloves to protect our frontline healthcare workers, and they were rewashing and reusing their masks over and over again the OR. 

The president also cited a shortage of semiconductors that power everything from cars to phones to military equipment. 

The United States has become more and more reliant on imports of essential items. And the president said the country must become more self-reliant in certain areas. 

Peter Harrell is Senior Director for International Economics on the president’s National Security Council. He told reporters Wednesday…

HARRELL: America should never face shortages of crucial products in times of crisis. Our supply chain should not be vulnerable to manipulation by competitor nations. 

And without mentioning China by name, the president said the United States should reduce its reliance on countries that don’t share our values. 

J&J vaccine behind schedule but likely nearly approval » The White House also announced Wednesday that Johnson & Johnson is running behind schedule in producing vaccine doses. 

Press Secretary Jen Psaki…

PSAKI: It was kind of reported earlier to be about 10 million, and now it’s more like 3 to 4 million doses that they would be ready to ship by next week, if they move through the FDA process, which has not yet concluded. 

If approved, the company says it intends to ship 20 million doses by the end of next month. And White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday. 

ZIENTS: We are working with the company to accelerate the pace and timeframe by which they deliver the full 100 million doses. 

Their contract requires 100 million doses by the end of June. 

U.S. regulators announced Wednesday that an analysis shows the vaccine provides strong protection against severe COVID-19 illness. That moves it one step closer to approval. 

The FDA’s advisory board is meeting this week to decide whether to recommend its approval for emergency use.

Judge indefinitely blocks enforcement of Biden deportation freeze » A federal judge has indefinitely blocked the Biden administration from enforcing the president’s 100-day freeze on almost all deportations. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton extended his injunction against the deportation freeze late Tuesday night just as the injunction was set to expire. 

Tipton, a Trump appointee, halted Biden’s order last month in response to a lawsuit by the state of Texas. The state argued that the move violated federal law and would impose additional costs on the state.

The judge later extended his injunction for two weeks. This time, he has extended it indefinitely. 

But the ruling does not require deportations to resume at their previous pace. Even without a complete deportation freeze, immigration agencies have a lot of latitude in deciding if and when to enforce removals. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Protesters denounce grand jury decision in Prude case » Demonstrators in Rochester, New York say justice has not been served in the case of Daniel Prude, a black man who died after a run-in with police.

They took to the streets Tuesday night and again on Wednesday after New York Attorney General Letita James made this announcement:  

JAMES: We presented the strongest case possible, but today the grand jury decided not to indict any police officer on charges related to Daniel Prude’s death. 

The 41-year-old Prude died last March, several days after his encounter with police in Rochester. Prude was said to be experiencing a mental health episode. Police detained him for running naked through the streets. The officers said they placed a hood over his head to prevent him from spitting at them as they pressed him down to the ground. Two minutes later, he fell unconscious. Doctors took him off life support a week later. 

On Wednesday, protesters gathered near the spot whether Prude fell unconscious. 

AUDIO: It’s just crazy how we just did all this work and just for them to not indict no one. 

But an attorney for the police officers, Jim Nobles said no charges were filed for good reason. 

NOBLES: This gentleman was high on PCP and was headed for a cardiac event, and it just so happened that that happened in the context of an interaction with the Rochester Police Dept. 

Nobles said he maintains that the officers involved followed their training and departmental procedures. 

Iran blocks UN nuclear inspectors » Iran is blocking UN inspectors from seeing its nuclear facilities. 

ZARIF: [Speaking in Farsi]

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country will no longer share surveillance video of its nuclear facilities with UN inspectors. He said a new law took effect on Tuesday blocking the inspections. 

That after the United States did not meet Iran’s weekend deadline to lift economic sanctions. It’s part of an ongoing campaign by Tehran to pressure the Biden administration into dropping sanctions at the start of any new nuclear negotiations.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Joe Biden signs an executive order relating to U.S. supply chains, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris watches. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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