US Domestic News Roundup: U.S. charges four Kentucky police officers in Breonna Taylor killing; U.S. FDA declines to approve expanded use of Acadia's antipsychotic drug and more
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Russia said on Friday it was ready to discuss a prisoner swap with the United States in private, a day after a Russian court jailed U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner for nine years for a drugs offence. The case against Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, plunged her into a geopolitical maelstrom after Russia sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
U.S. charges four Kentucky police officers in Breonna Taylor killing
U.S. prosecutors on Thursday charged four current and former Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their roles in the botched 2020 raid that killed Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was in her home, in a case that sparked nationwide protests.
The charges represented the Justice Department's latest effort to crack down on abuses and racial disparities in policing, following a wave of controversial police killings of Black Americans.
Jury in Alex Jones defamation case to begin deliberations on punitive damages
Lawyers for parents of a child slain in the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting are expected to present evidence on Alex Jones' wealth to jurors in Texas Friday as they seek punitive damages beyond the $4.1 million they secured for the U.S. conspiracy theorist's falsehoods about the massacre. A 12-person jury on Thursday said Jones must pay the parents $4.1 million in compensatory damages for spreading conspiracy theories about the killing of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.
U.S. FDA declines to approve expanded use of Acadia's antipsychotic drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to approve expanded use of Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc's antipsychotic drug for treating psychosis related to Alzheimer's disease, the company said on Thursday. The health regulator concluded there were limitations in the interpretability of Acadia's antipsychotic drug study and an additional study would be required, according to the company.
U.S. declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency
The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, the health secretary said on Thursday, a move expected to free up additional funding and tools to fight the disease. The U.S. tally topped 6,600 on Wednesday, almost all of the cases among men who have sex with men.
Democratic U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema said on Thursday she agreed to "move forward" on a $430 billion drug pricing, energy and tax bill, subject to a Senate arbiter's approval of the bill, which Democrats intend to pass over Republican objections. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier on Thursday the chamber would convene on Saturday to vote on a motion to proceed and then begin debate on the bill.
U.S. authorities on Thursday announced criminal charges against former Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez, who was in office from 2019 to 2021, for alleged corruption during her 2020 election campaign. The former governor is charged with conspiracy, federal programs bribery and honest services wire fraud, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.
Kari Lake, a former news anchor who has embraced former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud, has been projected to win the Republican nomination for Arizona governor, according to Edison Research. Lake has promised to try to enact a slew of election measures if elected in November's general election, including eliminating vote-counting machines and banning voting by mail.
DeSantis suspends Florida prosecutor for refusing to enforce abortion law
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday suspended an elected state attorney without pay, accusing him of neglecting his duties and incompetence for saying he would not prosecute anyone who sought or provided abortions. DeSantis, a Republican who has been courting conservatives as part of an expected presidential bid in 2024, also took issue with Democrat Andrew Warren's stance that he would not enforce laws restricting gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
'Foul play' suspected after four people found dead in Nebraska town
Four people were found dead early on Thursday at two separate residences in the small Nebraska farming town of Laurel when police responded to reports of explosions and fires at the homes, authorities said. One victim was found when local police and fire departments arrived at the first residence. A short time later, a second fire was reported at a home several blocks away, and three more victims were found there.
(With inputs from agencies.)