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In our news wrap Tuesday, President Joe Biden promised India help, including supplying vaccines. The Biden administration also laid out new initiatives on immigration as numbers crossing the southern border hit records, and raised the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors. The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into the police killing of a Black man in North Carolina.
In the day's other news: President Biden spoke with India's prime minister, as that country's COVID crisis kept growing.
The Indian Health Ministry reported another 323,000 infections and nearly 2,800 deaths over 24 hours. Mr. Biden said he promised U.S. help, including vaccine.
Meanwhile, foreign aid began trickling into India, including ventilators and other supplies. But many complained it isn't coming fast enough.
Ekta Chaudhary (through translator):
I am fed up. No one is listening here. I need oxygen. My husband's oxygen levels are going down. Doctors are saying they don't have cylinders of oxygen.
The World Health Organization said today that it believes three COVID variants and large public gatherings are fueling India's surge.
The Biden administration is out with new initiatives on immigration, as numbers of people crossing the Southern border hit records. The first aims to identify human smugglers and freeze their financial assets. Immigration agents will also curtail arrests in or near courthouses. Officials say that the change will ensure equal access to justice.
The FBI today opened a civil rights investigation into the killing of a Black man in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Sheriff's deputies fatally shot Andrew Brown last week. They say he tried to drive off as they served a drug-related warrant. Family lawyers said today that an independent autopsy found that Brown was shot five times from behind.
This in fact was the fatal wound to the back of Mr. Brown's head as he was leaving the site, trying to evade being shot at by these particular law enforcement officers, who we believe did nothing but a straight-out execution.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called today for a special prosecutor in the case. The state attorney general said, first, that the local district attorney must ask for one.
The United States has had a confrontation with Iran in the Persian Gulf for the first time in a year. U.S. Navy footage released today shows that — a Revolutionary Guard ship cutting in front of a U.S. Coast Guard vessel this month, forcing a hard stop to avoid a collision. American officials say that a second incident occurred on that same day.
The U.S. State Department today ordered much of its embassy staff to leave Afghanistan. American troops have already begun leaving, ahead of President Biden's September 11 deadline for a troop withdrawal — total troop withdrawal.
At a U.S. Senate hearing, Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad acknowledged concerns about the Taliban taking over again.
If they do want U.S. assistance, they want international acceptance, they want to end their prior state, they want delisting, those things will be all affected by how they treat their own citizens, first and foremost, the women of Afghanistan, children and minorities.
The U.S. withdrawal is taking place as peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government are stalled.
A leading human rights group accused Israel today of practicing apartheid against Palestinians. Human Rights Watch issued a lengthy report that cited systematic discrimination. Israel, in turn, charged that the group has — quote — "a longstanding anti-Israeli agenda."
Back in this country, President Biden issued an executive order raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors. It's currently just below $11 an hour. The increase takes effect by March of next year. The federal government has some five million contract workers.
Consumer confidence rose sharply in April to its highest level since the pandemic began. And home prices shot up nearly 12 percent in February from a year earlier, the most in nearly seven years. But the news failed to move Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained just three points to close near 33985. The Nasdaq fell 48 points, and the S&P 500 lost a fraction of a point.
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