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In our news wrap Wednesday, members of the Afghan women's soccer team along with coaches and families crossed into Pakistan and will seek asylum in other countries. North and South Korea traded missile tests amid rising tensions. Pope Francis says Catholic clerics should not mix politics with Communion. Boston voters have chosen Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George for a mayor's run-off.
In the day's other news: The nation's top military officer, General Mark Milley, drew support for his actions during President Trump's final weeks in office.
A new book says that he reassured China that then-President Trump would not order an attack, and that, if he did, Milley would give advance warning.
President Biden said today that he has great confidence in the general. The Pentagon also defended him.
John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary:
Frequent communication with two countries like Russia and China is not atypical at all for a chairman of the Joint Chiefs. And those communications are — they're routine. They're staffed. They're coordinated. And they're transparent, as transparent as they can be.
Some Republicans have charged that Milley overstepped his authority and have called for him to be fired.
The two Koreas traded missile tests today, amid rising tensions. South Korea fired its first ballistic missile from a submarine, with President Moon Jae-in looking on. He called it a deterrence against the North. Earlier, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea.
Pakistan is warning that it cannot take any more Afghan refugees. The national security adviser says his country already hosts three million displaced Afghans. Members of the Afghan women's soccer team, along with coaches and families, have crossed into Pakistan. They will seek asylum in other countries.
Back in the United States, President Biden carried his campaign for COVID-19 vaccinations to major U.S. corporations today. He met with officials of Walt Disney, Kaiser Permanente, and others, and said many are moving to mandate shots, including one in particular.
Joe Biden, President of the United States: The vaccine requirements work, and more companies are instituting them. Even at FOX News, they require it. And I'm not being facetious when I say that. I — but it's interesting that they have stepped forward and done that as well.
To date, just over half of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated. Some 665,000 nationwide have died from COVID. That is about one of every 500 people in the country.
Pope Francis says Catholic clerics should not mix abortion with — abortion politics with communion. He would not say today whether President Biden and others who support abortion rights should receive communion. Instead, he said the church should minister to them with compassion.
California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will stay in office after defeating a Republican recall bid. Incomplete returns from Tuesday's voting and mail-in ballots showed him leading by nearly 30 points.
He addressed supporters last night and said it's a win for him and for the people of the state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA):
I'm humbled and grateful to the millions and millions of Californians that exercised their fundamental right to vote and expressed themselves so overwhelmingly by rejecting the division.
We will look at the recall and its wider implications later in the program.
Boston voters have chosen two women of color for a mayor's run-off. Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George finished first and second on Tuesday. Acting Mayor Kim Janey lost her election bid. She's the first woman and first Black person to hold the office.
Remnants of Hurricane Nicholas stalled over Louisiana today, dumping more rain. Rooftops torn open from Hurricane Ida last month left people exposed to new downpours. Flash flood watches stretched to the Florida Panhandle.
And, on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 236 points to close at 34814. The Nasdaq rose 123 points. The S&P 500 added 37.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": what President Trump's continuing grip on the Republican Party means for elections; why the U.S. struggles to contain the flow of illegal fentanyl across the Southern border; a new parenting book draws criticism for its counterintuitive advice; plus much more.
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