Stories by associated press

Endangered-Species Decision Expected on Beloved Butterfly

In this June 2, 2019, file photo, a fresh monarch butterfly rests on a Swedish Ivy plant soon after emerging in Washington. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster, File)

Trump administration officials are expected to say this week whether the monarch butterfly, a colorful and familiar backyard visitor now caught in a global extinction crisis, should receive federal designation as a threatened species.

Illinois Fires Coach Lovie Smith After 5 Seasons

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, left, and Illinois head coach Lovie Smith shakes hands after an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Champaign, Ill. Iowa won 35-21. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Lovie Smith became Illinois’ first Black head football coach when he was hired by athletic director Josh Whitman in March 2016. The longtime NFL coach went 17-39 in five seasons at the school.

COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments Begin in Historic US Effort

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. (AP Photo / Morry Gash, Pool)

The first of many freezer-packed COVID-19 vaccine vials made their way to distribution sites across the United States on Sunday, as the nation’s pandemic deaths approached the horrifying new milestone of 300,000.

States Will Start Getting COVID-19 Vaccine Monday, US Says

The Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant is shown in Portage, Mich., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)

The nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in states Monday morning, U.S. officials said Saturday, after the government gave the final go-ahead to the shots needed to end an outbreak that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.

US Allows Emergency COVID-19 Vaccine in Bid to End Pandemic

The Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant is shown in Portage, Mich., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)

The U.S. gave the final go-ahead Friday to the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, marking what could be the beginning of the end of an outbreak that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans. 

Demoralized Health Workers Struggle as Virus Numbers Surge

In this Dec. 8, 2020, file photo, a health care worker wears personal protective equipment as she speaks to a patient at a mobile testing location for COVID-19 in Auburn, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Doctors and nurses around the U.S. are becoming exhausted and demoralized as they struggle to cope with a record-breaking surge of COVID-19 patients that is overwhelming hospitals and prompting governors to clamp back down to contain the virus.

Supreme Court Rejects Republican Attack on Biden Victory

Kathy Kratt of Orlando, Fla., displays her Trump flags as she and other protesters demonstrate their support for President Donald Trump at the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

The Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit backed by President Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court.

‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Indicted on New Child Sex Charges

Dirksen United States Courthouse (Ken Lund / Flickr)

“Cheer” star Jerry Harris has been indicted on new charges that allege he solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and convinced teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and videos of themselves.

White House Threatens FDA Chief’s Job Over Vaccine Approval

In this Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 on Capitol Hill. (Graeme Jennings / Pool via AP, File)

President Donald Trump has been pressing for quick approval for the vaccine and tweeted directly at Hahn earlier Friday, complaining that FDA “is still a big, old, slow turtle.” Trump has publicly bashed the pace of the FDA’s vaccine review process.

Viral Spread: Americans Paying the Price for Thanksgiving

In this Nov. 25, 2020, file photo, travelers wait to check-in for their flights ahead of Thanksgiving at LaGuardia Airport, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, File)

Across the country, contact tracers and emergency room doctors are hearing repeatedly from new coronavirus patients that they socialized over Thanksgiving with people outside their households.

Sen. Durbin Poised for Key Biden Role on Judges, Immigration

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin speaks with “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is poised to become the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, making him a key ally of Joe Biden as the president-elect navigates an increasingly partisan climate and some of the most contentious policy areas in Congress. 

US Panel Endorses Widespread Use of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Plus: Dr. Emily Landon discusses the approval with ‘Chicago Tonight’

Documents created by Pfizer for the meeting with the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel, as Pfizer seeks approval for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine, are seen on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (AP Photo / Jon Elswick)

Shots could begin within days, depending on how quickly the Food and Drug Administration signs off, as expected, on the expert committee’s recommendation.

One-day US Deaths Top 3,000, More Than D-Day or 9/11

In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, Kyla Harris, 10, writes a tribute to her grandmother Patsy Gilreath Moore, who died at age 79 of COVID-19, at a symbolic cemetery created to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19 in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. (AP Photo / Lynne Sladky, File)

The crisis across the country is pushing medical centers to the breaking point and leaving staff members and public health officials burned out and plagued by tears and nightmares.

AP Source: Emanuel’s Cabinet Prospects Increasingly Unlikely

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, May 13, 2019.

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, among multiple candidates in the running for the Cabinet position, appeared to slip down the list in the last two weeks after progressive leaders criticized the prospect of nominating him for the post.

No Drama Corona-Christmas Has Some Secretly Jumping For Joy

Corritta Lewis, center, and her wife Mea pose with their son Caleb, 2, in Oceanside, Calif., on Dec. 4, 2020. (Corritta Lewis via AP)

Though Thanksgiving pleas to stay put were ignored by thousands, many around the world are gleefully looking forward to spending the December holidays at home without the expense, drama and travel headaches they normally endure.

Jury Convicts Illinois Man In Minnesota Mosque Bombing

This undated file photo provided by the Ford County Sheriff's Office in Paxton, Ill., shows Michael Hari. (Ford County Sheriff's Office via AP File)

A jury on Wednesday convicted the leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group of several civil rights and hate crime charges in the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque.

Boeing 737 Max Back in Air 2 Years After Grounded By Crashes

A Gol Airlines Boeing 737 Max plane approaches to land at the international airport in Guarulhos, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (AP Photo / Andre Penner)

Commercial flights with Boeing 737 Max jetliners resumed Wednesday for the first time since they were grounded worldwide nearly two years ago following two deadly accidents.

UK Probing If Allergic Reactions Linked to Pfizer Vaccine

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo / Frank Augstein, Pool)

Britain’s medical regulator warned Wednesday that people with a history of serious allergic reactions shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. The advice was issued on a “precautionary basis.”

New White House Offer Adds $600 Checks to COVID-19 Relief

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky talks during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash / Pool via AP)

The Trump administration dove back into Capitol Hill’s confusing COVID-19 negotiations on Tuesday, offering a $916 billion package to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would send a $600 direct payment to most Americans.

Trump Hails Vaccine ‘Miracle,’ With Millions of Doses Soon

Plus: Illinois Congress members weigh in on ‘Chicago Tonight’

President Donald Trump speaks during an “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit” on the White House complex, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump celebrated the expected approval of the first U.S. vaccine for the coronavirus Tuesday as the White House worked to instill confidence in the massive distribution effort to come.

Chicago 7-Year-Old Raises Money for Hospital’s Pandemic Gear

Hayley Orlinsky poses for a portrait Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, with several colorful rubber band bracelets she makes in her Chicago home. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hayley Orlinsky has spent most of the coronavirus pandemic crafting colorful bracelets as a fundraiser to buy personal protective equipment for a children’s hospital. So far, the endeavor has generated nearly $20,000.

Dick Allen, Fearsome Hitter and 7-Time All-Star, Dies at 78

Former Philadelphia Phillies’ Dick Allen waves to the crowd before a baseball game against the New York Mets in Philadelphia, in this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, file photo. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum, File)

The Philadelphia Phillies, the team Dick Allen started out with, announced his death Monday. The seven-time All-Star, 1964 NL Rookie of the Year and 1972 AL MVP started out with the Philadelphia Phillies, who retired his No. 15 in September.

EU Invites Biden to Usher in New Era for Trans-Atlantic Ties

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks with the media as he arrives for a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday Dec. 7, 2020. (John Thys, Pool via AP)

The European Union on Monday invited U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to help mend tattered trans-Atlantic ties and urged him to join it in a long-term “strategic dialogue” that would address global issues ranging from COVID-19 to climate change.

Trump Ratchets Up Pace of Executions Before Biden Inauguration

In this Aug. 28, 2020, file photo, a no trespassing sign is displayed outside the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind. (AP Photo / Michael Conroy, File)

As Donald Trump’s presidency winds down, his administration is ratcheting up the pace of federal executions despite a surge of coronavirus cases in prisons, announcing plans for five starting Thursday.

Trump Expected to Flex Pardon Powers on Way Out Door

In this Nov. 26, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after participating in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)

Advocates and lawyers anticipate a flurry of clemency action from President Donald Trump in the coming weeks that could test the limits of presidential pardon power.

Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Tests Positive for COVID-19

In this Nov. 19, 2020, file photo, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, in Washington. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin, File)

President Donald Trump said Sunday his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the latest in Trump’s inner circle to contract the disease that is now surging across the U.S.