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News Wrap: Biden voices hope of reaching COVID vaccine skeptics

In our news wrap Monday, President Biden voiced hope of reaching COVID vaccine skeptics among former President Trump's supporters, Myanmar's military imposed martial law on much of Yangon, the Vatican formally declared the Roman Catholic Church will not bless same-sex marriages, and tens of thousands of women marched in Australia demanding justice for victims of sexual assault.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: President Biden voiced hope of reaching COVID vaccine skeptics among former President Trump's supporters.

    Polls show many of those voters oppose the shots. But the president said doctors and ministers might do more than Mr. Trump to sway them. Also today, officials announced bigger Medicare payments for giving the shots, in a bid to reach underserved areas.

  • Andy Slavitt:

    We believe that the medical professionals that are on the front lines of this vaccination effort, by the way, the same people that are on the front lines of this entire pandemic, need to be taken care of.

    And we think that's going to do the job of both increasing vaccinations, as well as improving equity.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Overseas, Germany, France, Italy and Spain temporarily halted the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine after reports of blood clots. The company and the World Health Organization denied that there is any link.

    There's word that the Dallas, Texas, Convention Center will house up to 3,000 migrant teenage boys. The Associated Press reported that today, as a dozen congressional Republicans visited El Paso, Texas. They charged that President Biden's policies are encouraging illegal crossings.

    In Myanmar, the military imposed martial law today over much of Yangon, a day after troops killed 38 protesters. The U.N. reported that 138 people have been killed since the February coup.

    Meanwhile, smoke could be seen near Yangon. Crowds set fire to Chinese-owned factories on Sunday over allegations that Beijing backs the military coup.

    The Vatican has formally declared that the Roman Catholic Church will not bless same-sex marriages. Today's decree was approved by Pope Francis. It said that the church respects the LGBTQ community, but cannot recognize any marriages because — quote — "God cannot bless sin."

    Tens of thousands of women marched in Australia today, demanding justice for victims of sexual assault. In Canberra, demonstrators rallied outside Parliament.

    Brittany Higgins said that she was raped by a senior colleague in the defense minister's office, but got no support.

  • Brittany Higgins:

    It was so confusing, because these people were my idols. I had dedicated my life to them. They were my social network, my colleagues and my family. And, suddenly, they treated me differently. I wasn't a person who'd just gone through a life-changing, traumatic event, I was a political problem.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The defense minister has apologized for referring to Higgins as — quote — "a lying cow." In addition, Australia's attorney general has denied allegations that he raped a girl when he was 17.

    Northern China was hit today by its worst sandstorm in a decade. In Beijing, thick dust tinged the skyline with a bright orange hue and canceled hundreds of flights. The storms historically come in springtime, with sand blowing in from western deserts.

    Back in this country, parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska woke up buried in snow. The Denver area got more than two feet on Sunday, closing roads and Denver International Airport, before it reopened this afternoon. Major roads in Eastern Wyoming and Eastern Colorado were also closed.

    The U.S. Senate moved this evening to confirm Deb Haaland as interior secretary, the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. Progressives hailed her nomination, while most Republicans objected to her support for restricting use of public lands and fossil fuels.

    On Wall Street, stocks gained for a fifth straight day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 174 points to close at 32953. The Nasdaq rose 139 points. The S&P 500 added 25 to reach a record close.

    And women won the top four Grammy Awards last night. They included Beyonce, who now has 28 Grammys, the most ever for a woman, and Taylor Swift, the first woman to win album of the year three times.

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