NPR News

Vice President Mike Pence met with executives of hometown shipping giant FedEx on Thursday as he touted the company’s expected role in distributing COVID-19 vaccines this month. As soon as a vaccine is approved, Pence says, immediate shipments can begin.

Even as FedEx enters its peak holiday season, executives say distributing vaccines is a priority. The company is expanding its global network of temperature-sensitive facilities able to accommodate the frontrunner vaccines, one of which must be kept at nearly 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

Updated 11:36 p.m. ET

Hundreds of Google employees have published an open letter following the firing of a colleague who is an accomplished scientist known for her research into the ethics of artificial intelligence and her work showing racial bias in facial recognition technology.

That scientist, Timnit Gebru, helped lead Google's Ethical Artificial Intelligence team until Tuesday.

Before the pandemic, the Mid-South Food Bank distributed about 1.5 million pounds of food each month to the 31 counties it serves.

The volume has increased exponentially, to about 5.5 million pounds of food every month, says Food Bank President and CEO Cathy Pope.

Pope joins the President and CEO of MIFA, Sally Jones Heinz, for this week’s WKNO-TV Behind the Headlines with host Eric Barnes and The Daily Memphian’s Bill Dries. Guests discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has vastly increased the number of families facing nutritional shortages.

Leaders in the winter sports industry have worked to ensure that ski resorts across the country could safely open this winter. Measures such as mask mandates and social distancing are in place. A limited number of guests are allowed each day. And many resorts require guests to reserve their days on the slopes ahead of time.

Former felons looking to have their voting rights restored in Tennessee face a legal process that differs from county to county, according to a new legal challenge. The lawsuit filed on behalf of several former felons and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) argues that the patchwork policies wrongfully deny some people re-enfranchisement.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against social media monolith Facebook Thursday, alleging the company "refused to recruit, consider, or hire qualified and available U.S. workers for over 2,600 positions."

According to the lawsuit, Facebook allegedly reserved the positions for temporary visa holders it wanted to sponsor for permanent residency in the U.S. The average salary of these positions: $156,000.

On more than one occasion, President Trump has demonstrated his willingness to use his pardon power to pluck a political ally or associate out of legal trouble.

A Wisconsin court commissioner overseeing the case of a teenager accused of killing two people and injuring a third during protests in Kenosha, Wis., this summer, has denied defense attorneys' request to dismiss two of the six charges facing Kyle Ritttenhouse.

During a preliminary hearing conducted via video link Thursday, Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner Loren Keating also said he found enough evidence that support the charges against Rittenhouse, 17, for the case to proceed to trial.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The coronavirus surge has hit especially hard in the nation's smallest state. Rhode Island has the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in New England. Bars are closed. Gyms are closed. And two field hospitals opened this week to care for an overflow of COVID patients. But extra hospital beds only solve one part of the equation. Health reporter Lynn Arditi has more.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The coronavirus surge has hit especially hard in the nation's smallest state. Rhode Island has the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in New England. Bars are closed. Gyms are closed. And two field hospitals opened this week to care for an overflow of COVID patients. But extra hospital beds only solve one part of the equation. Health reporter Lynn Arditi has more.

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