News Wrap: Arizona wildfire grows, forcing hundreds to evacuate

In our news wrap Wednesday, Arizona’s Tunnel Fire doubles in size overnight, forcing hundreds to evacuate. The Justice Department will appeal a judge’s order striking down a federal mask mandate for transit after the CDC says it is necessary for public health. And China allows 4 million people to leave their Shanghai homes as the city’s COVID lockdown eases.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A wildfire in Arizona is growing rapidly, nearly tripling in size overnight, and forcing the evacuation of more than 750 homes and 1,000 animals.

    The fire is on the outskirts of Flagstaff. Officials said that winds push flames as high as 100 feet, burning grass, shrubs and pine trees in its path. The weather improved today, but stronger winds are expected to return tomorrow.

    Workplace safety regulators in New Mexico have fined the "Rust" film production company nearly $140,000 over firearm safety violations on the set. In October, actor Alec Baldwin pointed a prop gun that unexpectedly went off, killing the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins. An investigation found that the film company ignored multiple safety lapses, including two rifle misfires in the days before the incident. Inquiries into possible criminal charges are still ongoing.

    China has allowed four million more people to leave their homes in Shanghai today, as the city continues to ease its COVID-19 lockdown. Now about half of the city's 25 million people are able to venture outside. But a Shanghai health officials today said that some neighborhoods are still under lockdown to help slow the spread of the virus.

  • Wu Qiunya, Shanghai Municipal Health Commission (through translator):

    The closed-off management areas should strictly abide by their requirements on home quarantine, carry out environmental disinfection and ventilation. In those areas, people who need to go out for things like medical treatment should report to the communities and then take specially arranged vehicles to the destinations.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for China's economic growth this year from 4.8 percent to 4.4 percent. That's due to the COVID lockdowns.

    And this late news: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that it has asked the Justice Department to proceed with an appeal of a federal judge's ruling that declared the transportation mask mandate is unlawful.

    Sri Lanka's president today promised an impartial investigation into police clashes with protesters that killed one person yesterday. It came amid weeks of demonstrations over the Asian nation's first — or, rather, worst economic crisis in decades. Thousands of protesters filled the streets again today. Some used vehicles to block key roads. They demonstrated against the government and yesterday's shooting.

    Two underground methane explosion that a coal mine in Poland have killed at least five people and injured more than 20. Seven people are still missing. Some of the wounded were taken to a nearby hospital for life-threatening injuries. The incident comes as Poland is trying to wean itself off of Russian energy sources in response to the Ukraine invasion.

    Back in this country, sales of previously owned homes are slowing down amid record high prices and a rise in mortgage rates. The National Association of Realtors reported existing home sales fell 2.7 percent from February to March. That is the slowest pace since June of 2020. Meanwhile, the median home price is up 15 percent from a year ago to a record $375,300.

    And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today after another choppy day of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 249 points to close at 35161. The Nasdaq fell 166 points. The S&P 500 slipped three.

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