Booster shots, Alec Baldwin probe, kidnapped missionaries: 5 things to know Friday

·4 min read

Moderna, J&J booster shots could be available as soon as Friday

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on mix-and-match COVID-19 booster shots Thursday night, meaning clinics, doctors and pharmacies can begin giving them out Friday. A CDC advisory committee recommended that Americans be allowed to choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as a COVID-19 booster shot. The committee said it could increase protection against the disease that is killing on average 1,093 Americans a day. "The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

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Probe into accidental prop gun discharge by Alec Baldwin that killed 1

Authorities in New Mexico are investigating after confirming that a prop firearm discharged Thursday by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of the upcoming Western film "Rust" killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. Hutchins, 42, was pronounced dead by medical personnel at University of New Mexico Hospital, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's department said. Souza was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff's office in tears. The incident is still under active investigation with multiple questions that need to be answered in the coming days, including what type of projectile was discharged. No charges have been filed, the sheriff's office said. Detectives are continuing to interview witnesses. Filming for "Rust," which was set to continue into early November, has been halted.

Haitian gang leader threatens lives of kidnapped missionaries

Sixteen Americans and one Canadian remain in the hands of a Haitian gang Friday, a week after police said they were kidnapped. According to authorities, the gang is demanding $17 million for the release of the group, who were in the country with the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. Those kidnapped include seven women, five men and five children. In a video released Thursday, the leader of the gang said he would kill them if demands weren't met. The abduction adds to the turmoil in Haiti, where bold criminal activity has been rampant even before the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. That crisis, along with an August earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed over 130,000 homes, has fueled a near collapse of civil order.

DOJ could consider prosecuting Steve Bannon

After the House of Representatives voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress, the Justice Department will be able to consider Friday whether or not to prosecute the former President Donald Trump adviser. Although Attorney General Merrick Garland wouldn't commit Thursday to pursuing criminal charges against Bannon, he vowed to "apply the facts and law consistent with the principles of prosecution." Prior to the House's vote, Bannon ignored subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Lawmakers want to know about any communications Bannon had with Trump in the days leading up to the riot, which occurred as lawmakers and Pence gathered in a special session to formally count the Electoral College votes that established Joe Biden as winner of the 2020 presidential election.

College lacrosse player to be remembered at wake in New Jersey

According to authorities, Madelyn "Madie" Nicpon, a 20-year-old lacrosse player at Tufts University in Massachusetts, died last weekend after falling unconscious at a charity fundraiser. She was participating with other students in a hot dog eating contest and choked. Nicpon's death has triggered an outpouring of emotion at Tufts and well beyond. About 3,000 students, faculty and staffers from the roughly 6,000-student university attended a vigil Sunday night to honor Nicpon, nicknamed "Scooter" on her team. Candles were placed around Nicpon's No. 2 jerseys. A wake will be held for Nicpon Friday evening at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Rev. Robert Stagg, who leads the parish, told The Boston Globe he doesn't often allow parishioners to hold wakes there, but readily agreed to do so for Nicpon's family because the funeral home cannot hold as many mourners as he expects.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 booster shots, Alec Baldwin probe: 5 things to know Friday

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