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Top eight today

Top eight stories for today including the International Criminal Court was urged to move forward with a war crimes case against the leader of a rebel group in the Central African Republic; An advisory panel recommended booster shots of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for at-risk adults; The Second Circuit weighed New York City’s vaccine mandate against the risk of the deadly pandemic to teachers, and more.

National

FDA panel unanimously recommends Moderna booster shot for vulnerable adults

Even while noting the scant amount of data provided to them to make their decision, members of an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration recommended Thursday that people at higher risk from Covid-19 who received the Moderna vaccine get booster shots.

A firefighter prepares to administer a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccine clinic in Ringgold, Ga., on March 31, 2021. (Daniel Jackson/Courthouse News)

Religious protections don’t apply to Falun Gong protest sites

Followers of a 30-year-old Chinese spiritual practice called Falun Gong cannot designate their protest sites as places of worship to silence counter-protesters, the Second Circuit ruled Thursday.

Exercises like this yoga practice qigong are considered a way for Falun Gong practitioners to "cultivate" themselves. (Image by Vô Vi from Pixabay via Courthouse News)

High-profile Capitol rioter gets all clear to represent himself

With the warning that self-representation will lead to spectacular and imminent failure, a federal judge granted permission Thursday to a California police chief turned yogi turned Three Percenter to do just that as he goes on trial for storming the U.S. Capitol.

Screenshot show an archived image of Alan Hostetter's now-defunct YouTube channel. (Image via Courthouse News)

Domino’s worker who first pointed the finger at ‘antifa’ cops guilty plea to Capitol riot

A Massachusetts man famously photographed at the Capitol riot alongside the infamous QAnon shaman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Thursday, nine months after he first told FBI investigators that it was not Trump supporters but "antifa" who stormed the halls of government.

The government added a red arrow (left) to highlight Brian McCreary in this photo of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, standing in frame with the QAnon shaman. (Image via Courthouse News)

Regional

Vaccine mandate is extreme but so is Covid. Will NYC schools mandate survive appeal?

Hearing arguments from a group of New York City teachers claiming that the citywide Covid-19 vaccine mandate violates their constitutional rights, a Second Circuit panel weighed the mandate against the risk of the deadly pandemic to teachers, students and the community.

Students are greeted by faculty as they arrive at PS 811 in New York on Sept. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Victims bear wounds in damages phase of Sutherland Springs shooting trial

Survivors of the November 2017 massacre at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church in Texas took the stand in federal court as their trial against the U.S. government, which failed to prevent a shooting perpetrated by a disturbed former airman, proceeded to the damages phase.

A Nov. 12, 2017, memorial for the victims of the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, included 26 white chairs, each with a painted cross and a rose. (Eric Gay/AP)

International

War crimes without a war? Rebel leader’s defense tries to minimize hostilities

Urging the International Criminal Court to move forward with proceedings against Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, the court's top prosecutor on Thursday described allegations that the leader of a predominantly Muslim rebel group in the Central African Republic known as the Seleka kept prisoners in a torture pit under his desk. 

Mahamat Said Abdel Kani appears before a pretrial chamber of the International Criminal Court on October 12, 2021, for a hearing to confirm the charges against him. Judges Rosario Salvatore Aitala, Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua and Judge Tomoko Akane are presiding. (ICC image via Courthouse News)

Armenia asks UN court to protect it from ‘hatred’ of neighbor Azerbaijan

The United Nations' top court heard opening arguments Thursday in Armenia's request for temporary protective measures against its neighbor Azerbaijan.

A forest burns in October 2020 after shelling by Azerbaijan's artillery during a military conflict with Armenia outside Stepanakert, in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. (AP Photo)

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