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Need2Know: J&J Shot Works, Tiger's Condition & The Boss Cleared

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This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19, according to an analysis by U.S. regulators Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration’s scientists confirmed that overall, it's about 66% effective and also said J&J's shot, one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two, is safe to use. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Thursday, February 25, 2021:

COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine is safe and effective at preventing severe cases of COVID, according to data released by the FDA. The agency is expected to approve that vaccine as soon as Saturday, adding a third jab to the country’s arsenal. It cannot come soon enough. Even with numbers continuing to plummet, California just became the first state to reach 50,000 deaths. In NYC, researchers say they’ve discovered a brand new variant that carries a worrisome mutation that could weaken vaccine efficacy. The CDC has quietly launched an interactive tool called VaccineFinder, with the hope that it will eventually become a one-stop shop for finding approved vaccine providers and available appointments nationwide: BOOKMARK IT

POST OFFICE PROBLEMS

President Biden nominated three appointees to the Postal Service’s board who, if confirmed, would give Democrats the power to push out Louis DeJoy, the current Trump-appointed postmaster general. DeJoy testified to lawmakers for the first time since the election, apologizing for the mail delays during the holidays. Dems have accused him of trying to sabotage the USPS during the mail-in voting period, saying decisions he made to cut service led to holiday delivery delays that are still ongoing. Separately, the agency announced the winning design of its new mail truck, which will hit the road in 2023: SEE IT

LGBT IN AMERICA

About 5.6 percent of American adults identify as LGBT, according to new polling from Gallup, a rise of more than one percentage point since the last time the survey was conducted in 2017. A majority of those people identify as bisexual, with a quarter saying they are gay and about 11-12 percent saying they are lesbian or transgender. The generational breakdown is eye-opening: while just 2 percent of Baby Boomers identify as LGBT, that jumps to 16 percent for Gen Z. GALLUP

ISRAEL OIL SPILL

Israel’s parks authority says it has cleaned 70 tons of tar from the country’s beaches since a massive oil spill last week, but there’s still more than 1,000 tons of the toxic material that has washed up -- and more is expected. It’s especially bad on the rocky northern coastline, which is harder to clean. The culprit of the spill is still unknown, but tests of the washed-up tar should help determine which of about 10 nearby oil tankers was at fault. JPOST

SEMI SHORTAGE

President Biden signed an executive order meant to address the ongoing semiconductor shortage that is impacting industries from automobiles to consumer electronics. Semis -- the microchips that power pretty much every computer or smart device in the world -- were already in short supply before the pandemic due to the U.S. trade war with China. Then COVID created a huge supply chain breakdown as global demand for electronics soared. The North American auto industry has been particularly hard hit, with Ford, GM, Toyota and others forced to halt production due to the shortage. CHEDDAR

DEJA VU

Stop us if you’ve heard this before. Shares of GameStop are up 40 percent this morning after closing up more than 100 percent. Volatility in the stock was so extreme that trading had to be halted twice. To the extent the surge was driven by any news, GameStop announced its CFO was resigning -- reportedly pushed out in the aftermath of last month’s short squeeze. BI

TIGER UPDATE

The car crash that sent Tiger Woods to the hospital was “purely an accident,” police said. Woods is recovering from major orthopedic surgery after he suffered an open fracture to his right leg, which means that the bone broke through the skin. Doctors not associated with his treatment say it’s too early to predict what his recovery will look like, and that the big concern right now is making sure he doesn’t get an infection. According to the officers who arrived on scene, Woods had no idea how badly he was injured. LA TIMES

BRUCE DUI DROPPED

A New Jersey court has dropped the DUI charge against Bruce Springsteen after he pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol in a restricted area and paid a $500 fine. He was arrested back in November in a federal park along the Jersey coast for driving under the influence, but the news didn’t come out until a couple of weeks ago, and the details have remained sketchy. Springsteen’s hometown paper reported that his blood-alcohol level was .02 when he was stopped, well within the legal limit. ASBURY PARK PRESS

SPOTTED...ANIMAL KINGDOM...

...an extremely rare half-male, half-female cardinal. A birder in Pennsylvania snapped the bird known as a bilateral gynandromorph Northern Cardinal with a red-and-brown plumage divided right down the middle: SEE IT 
…an Australian wild sheep named Baarack, getting a much-needed haircut. The shearing yielded 77 lbs. of fleece -- roughly the weight of an adult kangaroo. The animal sanctuary that Baarack calls home says he’s “getting more confident every day”: SEE PIC

LEFTOVER: LANDMARK DIVORCE CASE

A divorce court in Beijing has ordered a man to pay his ex-wife a lump sum of 50,000 yuan (about $8,000) for the housework she did during their five-year marriage. The landmark ruling stems from a new civil code in China. Under the law, a spouse can now seek compensation in divorce for “intangible” responsibilities that they had in the marriage, such as cleaning or childcare. The case has become a flashpoint of debate on Chinese social media, with some saying that the woman is being undercompensated for five years of unpaid labor. BBC
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