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News Wrap: Biden blasts Trump’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic

In our news wrap Monday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden blasted President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Biden argued Trump should be working to secure the same protections for all Americans that he has for himself. Also, the Department of Justice says it is considering federal hate crimes charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden blasted President Trump's handling of the pandemic.

    In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Biden wrote: "Trump should be working to get Americans the same necessary protections he has gotten for himself."

    The former vice president argued that that's the only way to get the economy going again.

    The U.S. Justice Department says that it is considering federal hate crimes charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. The state attorney general asked for the investigation. Two armed white men, George and Travis McMichael, chased and shot Arbery in February. They were charged with murder last week, after video of the incident went viral.

    The U.S. Supreme Court heard more arguments by phone today on whether religious institutions can be sued for employment discrimination. Two former Catholic school teachers in California tried to sue their schools after being let go. The court must decide whether a 2012 decision on a related question bars the lawsuits.

    In Hong Kong, police have arrested more than 200 people after pro-democracy protests on Sunday night. They're accused of setting fires and blocking streets. Earlier, demonstrations broke out in shopping malls around the city. Protesters said that police are using COVID-19 to stifle opposition.

  • Enoch Cha (through translator):

    In the midst of the coronavirus, the government has imposed restrictions on gathering and turned it into a crackdown on freedom of assembly, not only for the human rights of citizens, but also for other religious activities. I think this is a gross violation of human rights.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mass protests against mainland China's rule rocked Hong Kong for much of last year.

    Iran's military say that a live-fire exercise gone wrong has killed 19 sailors. The army says that a missile struck a naval vessel, instead of its intended target, near the port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman. In addition to the dead, 15 sailors were wounded in the incident on Sunday.

    Back in this country, Twitter will post warnings about tweets on the pandemic that contain disputed or misleading information. The company says that it will not directly fact-check tweets. Instead, it may cover them entirely or direct users to a link with more information.

    Wall Street had an uneven day, as investors kept watch for signs of economic recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 109 points to close at 24222. But the Nasdaq rose 71 points. The S&P 500 added just a fraction of a point.

    And two passings of note: Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller has died of natural causes. He launched his career in the 1950s, teaming with his wife, Anne Meara. Forty years later, he gained new stardom as the irritable Frank Costanza on "Seinfeld."

    Here he is touting Festivus, his substitute for Christmas.

  • Jerry Stiller:

    You gather your family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Michael Richards:

    And is there a tree?

  • Jerry Stiller:

    No, instead, there's a pole. Requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Michael Richards:

    Frank, this new holiday of yours is scratching me right where I itch.

  • Jerry Stiller:

    Let's do it, then.

  • Michael Richards:

    All right.

  • Jerry Stiller:

    Festivus is back!

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Jerry Stiller was 92 years old.

    And Grammy-winning soul singer Betty Wright died of cancer on Sunday at her Miami home. Her breakthrough came in the 1970s, with hits like "Clean Up Woman," and, later, "Where Is the Love."

    Betty Wright was 66.

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