Good morning, NBC News readers.
We start this morning looking at a tragic stampede in Israel, how a lack of racial data is impacting the Covid vaccine rollout, and an unusual backyard discovery in Las Vegas.
Here’s what we’re watching this Friday morning.
‘A heavy disaster’: More than 40 people killed in stampede at a religious festival in Israel
A stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel killed at least 44 people and injured about 150, medical officials said on Friday.
The stampede, one of the deadliest civilian disasters in Israeli history, occurred during the celebrations of Lag BaOmer at Mount Meron.
Each year tens of thousands of people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gather to celebrate Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and traditionally light bonfires as part of the celebrations.
“People came to celebrate Lag BaOmer and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and unfortunately were literally crushed to death,” said one member of an Israeli volunteer emergency medical services organization that was on the scene.
Friday’s top stories
Covid has hit minority groups hard. But where’s the data?
Four months into the vaccine rollout, the U.S. has made little progress in collecting Covid-19 vaccination data by race and ethnicity. Experts say that makes it harder to target underserved communities and combat vaccine hesitancy — leaving officials “blind” to problems they might otherwise be able to swiftly address. By Elliott Ramos and Suzanne Gamboa | Read more
Joe Biden is proving progressives wrong. And they’re loving it.
Biden’s first 100 days have mostly been praised by a movement that was skeptical to outright antagonistic about his candidacy, according to more than 20 progressive lawmakers, strategists and activists who spoke to NBC News. “I don’t think they would have been better if Bernie Sanders was the president,” said one former union leader. By Sahil Kapur and Alex Seitz-Wald | Read more
No breaks: Huge auto lender didn’t give borrowers deferrals during Covid
Many auto loan firms offered deferments to borrowers during the pandemic. Credit Acceptance, the nation’s largest lender specializing in sub-prime loans, did not. By Gretchen Morgenson and Adiel Kaplan | Read more
OPINION: Hollywood tells its young actors to be vulnerable. Then it preys on them.
Producer Scott Rudin is out. But Hollywood and Broadway can’t stop there. The entertainment industry must stop grooming young actors for abuse. By Kelly Hartog | Read more
As loved ones languish in Iranian jails, families accuse European countries of weakness
Amid efforts to revive the tattered 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, relatives of Europeans held in Iran say their governments are kowtowing to Tehran. “I don’t know why they don’t want to call out Iran,” said the wife of one prisoner. “Why not call this hostage-taking?” By Saphora Smith and Dan De Luce | Read more
BETTER: Want to learn how to dance?
This digital fitness platform brings the dance studio to your living room. By Danielle Page | Read more
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Also in the news …
Drunk Elephant, Supergoop! and Briogeo are a few of the “clean” brands carried at Sephora. Here’s what the Clean at Sephora program means and how it’s evolved over time.
One fun thing
One Las Vegas couple will have to put a pause on building the pool of their dreams after construction crews made an unusual discovery: A set of bones dating back to Earth’s most recent ice age.
That’s right. Nevada Science Center Research Director Joshua Bonde said the bones are between 6,000 and 14,000 years old and are those of a horse or similar large mammal.
Read the full story here.
Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.
Hope you have a great weekend. Tune into NBC News’ “Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List” on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and Telemundo. After the challenging year we’ve all had, the primetime special will honor Alex Trebek & Jean Trebek, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bubba Wallace, Becky Hammon, José Andrés, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the Inspiration4 Crew and America’s Teachers.
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