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As we approach President Biden's 100th day in office at the end of this month, some observers are flattering him with comparisons to two legendary Democratic presidents of the 20th century — Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Those names reportedly came up when historian Jon Meacham convened a group of his colleagues at the White House in early March for a private session with Biden. And since then, the aptness of comparing this new president to such transformative figures of the past has become a matter of some debate in Washington and beyond.

Fetal tissue is uniquely valuable to medical researchers - useful for developing treatments and better understanding diseases like HIV, Parkinson's, and COVID-19.

But many anti-abortion rights groups oppose it on moral or religious grounds.

Now, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra says he's reversing several restrictions on fetal tissue research put in place during the Trump administration.

All federal prison inmates will have the opportunity to receive a vaccine by mid-May, according to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal.

Vaccines have already been made available to all federal prison staff, he said, speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing Thursday.

More than 40,000 people incarcerated in federal prisons have received both doses of the vaccine, the bureau says, which is about a third of the people in BOP custody. Nearly 18,000 federal prison staff have been fully vaccinated.

Liberty University is suing former president Jerry Falwell Jr. for millions of dollars, accusing him of withholding damaging personal information from school officials while negotiating a lucrative employment agreement for himself, among other allegations.

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Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

I've been hearing about breakthrough infections in people who have been vaccinated. Should I be worried? What can I do to protect myself?

The short answer:

Attendees of the infamous Fyre Festival didn't exactly get what they paid for in 2017, when they arrived in the Bahamas for a luxury music festival only to find themselves stranded without basic provisions, let alone first-class accommodations.

Some four years later, hundreds of ticket holders are poised to receive more than $7,000 each after settling a class-action lawsuit with event organizers.

Russia retaliated Friday over a new round of U.S. sanctions imposed a day ago by the Biden administration over the SolarWinds cyberattack and the Kremlin's election meddling.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said 10 U.S. diplomats will be expelled from Russia, mirroring the 10 Russian diplomats ordered to leave the U.S. on Thursday. Moscow will also add eight U.S. officials to its sanctions list and will restrict the activities of U.S. nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, operating in Russia.

Updated April 16, 2021 at 3:27 PM ET

A generation of Cuban revolutionaries who seized power more than six decades ago, directly challenging the U.S. and later pushing Washington and Moscow to the brink of nuclear war, is set to exit the stage.

Calling the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a "symbol of lawlessness and human rights abuses," two dozen U.S. senators are urging President Biden to shut it down quickly and find new homes for the 40 men remaining there. Many of the detainees have been confined at Guantánamo for nearly two decades without being tried or charged, and some have been cleared for release but are still being held.

A law professor and former federal prosecutor argues that police in Brooklyn Center, Minn., didn't need to pursue Daunte Wright, who was killed by an officer who said she mistakenly shot him instead of using her Taser.

"They have his license plate. They know where he lives," says Georgetown law professor Paul Butler, author of the book Chokehold: Policing Black Men.

Updated April 16, 2021 at 1:50 PM ET

A heavy metal musician and founding member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and agreed to cooperate with investigators — a first in the massive probe into the deadly Jan. 6 assault.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Our guest today is author Louise Erdrich. In a career going back to the 1970s, she's published 17 novels and more than 30 books in all, including children's literature, poetry and nonfiction. She won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction twice.

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Updated April 16, 2021 at 8:45 PM ET

The White House has walked back its announcement that it will keep this year's historically low refugee ceiling of 15,000 set by the Trump administration, saying its earlier statement Friday, which was panned by fellow Democrats, was meant only to ease restrictions from countries from which refugees are currently banned.

The White House said President Biden would raise the cap by May 15.

The Biden administration will send $1.7 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state governments and other research efforts, starting early next month to find and track coronavirus variants lurking in the United States. Already, the more contagious U.K. variant, B.1.1.7, is now the dominant strain in this country, fueling surges in Michigan and the Northeast.

Simon & Schuster has scrapped its plans to distribute a book written by one of the Louisville police officers who shot Breonna Taylor, after news of its publication ignited widespread criticism.

Government officials are trying to figure out how to make better use of drugs that can keep people with COVID-19 out of the hospital. That's an urgent but daunting challenge in Michigan, where hospitals are struggling to keep up with a surge in new cases.

"This release includes bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements."

The routine software update may be one of the most familiar and least understood parts of our digital lives. A pop-up window announces its arrival and all that is required of us is to plug everything in before bed. The next morning, rather like the shoemaker and the elves, our software is magically transformed.

CAPE TOWN, South AfricaIn South Africa, the government tried to control the COVID-19 outbreak by banning booze to keep people from gathering. Plus, sober South Africans were less likely to violently protest a complete lockdown.

You couldn't sit at a bar; you couldn't order a glass of wine; you couldn't even buy beer at the store.

There was an immediate public health benefit that had nothing to do with COVID-19. Suddenly, emergency rooms were empty, devoid of alcohol-related accidents.

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Muslims marked the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan this week. For roughly the next three weeks, Muslims who are able are told to fast from dawn to dusk.

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BEIJING — Nine veteran activists and lawmakers in Hong Kong have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 18 months because of their participation in anti-government protests nearly two years ago.

Media mogul Jimmy Lai received one year in prison, while prominent lawyers Margaret Ng and Martin Lee received suspended sentences of 12 and 11 months respectively, meaning if they are not convicted of another crime in the next two years, they will not have to spend time behind bars. The heaviest sentence of 18 months was meted out to Lee Cheuk-yan, an activist and former lawmaker.

Morning News Brief

Apr 16, 2021

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