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Live from NPR news I’m Jack Speer.

The incoming Biden administration has announced its plan to revamp the corona virus vaccine roll-out. As NPR’s SelenaSimmons-Duffin reports the President-elect wants to put billions of dollars toward community vaccination sites and mobile units.

For the first year of the pandemic, state and local leaders received only 330 million dollars to plan and build infrastructure for the distribution of a future covid-19 vaccine. Now that the vaccines are here, the roll-out is perhaps predictably going slowly, Congress allocated 9 billion dollars for vaccine distribution at the end of 2020, Biden wants to put an additional 20 billion dollars to the effort. The national plan also includes 50 billion dollars for testing, a tripling of the community health work force and investment in virus surveillance, the need for that has been made clear by the new variant that’s been identified in the UK, South Africa and elsewhere. SelenaSimmons-Duffin, NPR news.

Amid warnings from FBI of threats of armed protest by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump in Washington DC and elsewhere, number of National Guard troops coming to the nation’s capital now being up to around 26,000, and many of those troops will be armed. The FBI issued warnings about possible protests in conjunction with Biden’s inauguration next week, not only in DC but also in the state capitols across the country. With latest security threats coupled with rising numbers of corona virus cases in Washington, Mayor Muriel Bowser has urged people not to come to the inauguration and to stay home.

President- elect Biden is tapping former South Carolina Senate candidate Jimmy Harrison to head the Democratic National Committee. Harrison who began his political career as an aid to South Carolina congress man James Clyburn replaces current DNC Chair Tom Perez. Here’s NPR’s Scott Detrow.

A source close to the decision confirmed the pick to NPR. Harrison galvanized democrats across the country and got them to open up their wallets in his senate race against republican Lindsay Graham last year, Harrison fell short but along with democratic success in neighboring Georgia, his efforts highlighted the party’s increased focus on mobilizing black voters who may have previously set out down races. Harrison was head of the South Carolina Democratic Party before becoming associated chairman of the national party, he will replace Tom Perez who took control of the DNC when he was in tatters following Hillary Clinton’s 2016 lost and an email hack that made the party’s private emails public. Scott Detrow NPR news Washington.

The surge in applicants for first time jobless benefits last week is confirming what many economists have been saying, namely new surge in corona virus cases is causing companies to lay off workers. Labor department is reporting first time claims for unemployment benefits last week jumped by 181,000 to 965,000.

On Wall Street today, stocks closed lower, the Dow was down 68 points, the NASDAQ fell 16 points today.
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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been hospitalized in Monte Carlo for health problems. NPR’s repots the 84 year tycoon had previously undergone heart surgery and survived prostate cancer.  

Berlusconi’s private doctor Alberto Zangrillo told the Italian news agency Answer that he saw Berlusconi on Monday and had him transferred to a nearby hospital because he didn't think it prone to bring him to Italy only 10 miles from Monte Carlo. In September Berlusconi was hospitalized in Milan after contracting covid-19, and experienced he described as the most dangerous challenge of my life. The former president remains head of a right wing opposition party, his illness comes as Italy plunged into political chaos after a junior member of the governing coalition quitted the government. There’s been speculation that some of Berlusconi’s lawmakers might help prop up the government to prevent earlier elections. NPR news Rome.

Search engine company Google says it has completed a 2.1 billion-dollar acquisition of wearable fitness tracking maker Fitbit, competition or completion rather the acquisition comes 14 months after Google announced the deal which immediately raised alarms. Google makes most of its money selling ads based on information that collects about user interests and whereabouts, something privacy watchdogs worry the company will do to a even greater extent with the information obtained from Fitbit and the company’s 29 million users. Wearable devices track everything from a person’s love of activity to sleep patterns to the foods they consume.

Oil closed up 66 cents a barrel today in New York. I’m Jack Speer NPR news.
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