U.S. seeking industry cooperation on future medical supplies
WASHINGTON — U.S. officials are invoking a rarely used provision of American law that would shield companies from antitrust regulations to help the country from again running out of medical supplies in a pandemic.
The government began formal discussions Thursday with private industry representatives on a cooperative five-year agreement to ensure supplies of protective materials, medical equipment, medicine and vaccines.
The agreement would involve a provision of the Defense Production Act that has been used only twice before to enable competitive businesses and the government to discuss issues of price and supply without running afoul of antitrust regulations, said Joel Doolin, a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Divided Senate confirms Ratcliffe as intelligence chief
WASHINGTON — A sharply divided Senate confirmed John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence on Thursday, with Democrats refusing to support the nomination over fears that he will politicize the intelligence community’s work under President Donald Trump.
All Democrats opposed Ratcliffe, making him the first DNI to be installed on a partisan vote since the position was created in 2005. The tally was 49-44.
Ratcliffe will take over the agency at a tumultuous time. The nation faces threats from Iran and North Korea, Russian disinformation campaigns to interfere in the U.S. elections and tensions with China over rising competition and the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, Trump has viewed the intelligence agencies with distrust and ousted or fired multiple officials.
Top educator taught Kansas preschoolers alongside retirees
MISSION, Kan. — Teacher Tabatha Rosproy’s preschool class met inside a nursing and retirement home in rural Kansas, forming a bond with residents that continued even when social distancing requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic forced her classroom to close down.
After a school year of unprecedented disruptions, Rosproy was chosen as the 2020 National Teacher of the Year for bridging the worlds of her community’s oldest and youngest. Her selection from among 55 award-winning teachers around the country was announced Thursday by the Council of Chief State School Officers, with the selection committee praising her in a statement for embodying “hope and inspiration.”
The Winfield school district in which Rosproy teaches established the early childhood program two years ago inside Cumbernauld Village, a retirement community and nursing home that sits on 44 acres (17.8 hectares) in south-central Kansas. One year into the partnership, the program boasted the highest preschool literacy and math scores in the district. But more than that, Rosproy said, her students were “well connected and well loved” and the residents engaged as they snuggled with children while reading stories to them.