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News Wrap: Consumer prices see 5.4% year on year rise, White House says surge temporary

In our news wrap Tuesday, the Federal Reserve and White House said they expect a consumer price surge, up 5.4 percent, to be temporary. There's fresh evidence that COVID-19 infections in the U.S. are rising again, mostly among the unvaccinated. Mj Rodriguez — of the FX series "Pose" — became the first transgender woman nominated for a lead acting role Emmy award.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The battle for ballot access dominates the headlines tonight.

    President Biden has condemned Republicans in charge of state governments that are imposing restrictions. It was that sort of bill that prompted Democratic lawmakers to walk out of the Texas legislature on Monday. After traveling to Washington, they pushed today for voting protections.

    We will explore all of this after the news summary.

    The White House is also watching inflation, including today's report that consumer prices spiked in June. The gain from May was nearly a full percentage point. Year to year, prices rose nearly 5.5 percent, the most in 13 years.

    The Federal Reserve and the White House say they expect the surge to be temporary.

    There's fresh evidence that COVID-19 infections in the U.S. are rising again. New numbers show 24,000 cases reported nationally on Monday, double the daily total of three weeks ago. The peak, back in January, was a quarter-million cases a day.

    A fire swept through a COVID hospital ward in Iraq overnight. The state news agency says 92 people were killed in Nasiriyah, with more than 100 injured.

    Nick Schifrin reports.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Today, all that's left of the hospital built to keep people alive is a site of mass death. Dozens of families lost loved ones. Their caskets became a solemn procession.

    Iraqi officials say the fire likely started when faulty wiring sparked and an oxygen tank exploded. Firefighters tried to put out the blaze using cell phone flashlights because there was no electricity. They were too late, the bodies lined up, row after row, and the grief unspeakable.

  • Man (through translator):

    The catastrophe that occurred tonight in Hussein Hospital, the quarantine hospital, is a tragedy for which there are no words.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    But the tears are tainted with fury.

  • Haidar Al-Askar, (through translator):

    The whole state has collapsed, and who has paid the price? The people inside here. These people have paid the price.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    For years, Iraq's health care system has suffered corruption and mismanagement. A medic said the hospital lacked basic safety measures like a sprinkler system and fire extinguisher, and the construction was shoddy, with flammable, thin materials.

    In April, another 82 people died in a hospital in Baghdad after an oxygen tank exploded.

  • Ali Raif, (through translator):

    We have become scared to go to hospitals. Why? Because of their corruption and tyranny.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    And a COVID surge is straining a weak system. Only 2.5 percent of the population is vaccinated.

    Iraq's government launched an investigation and arrested hospital and local health officials. But it's little solace for relatives, who say this tragedy was preventable.

    For the "PBS NewsHour, " I'm Nick Schifrin.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The search for bodies in a collapsed condo tower in South Florida is winding down, with the confirmed death toll now at 95. Local officials said today that 14 people are still listed as missing. That number includes 10 bodies that have been recovered, but not yet identified.

    In South Africa, authorities say 72 people have died in rioting by supporters of a former president. Police and troop patrolled today around sites that had been looted. The unrest swept poor sections of two provinces, with hundreds arrested. It started after Jacob Zuma was jailed last week. He had refused to testify about corruption during his time as president.

    The U.N. Refugee Agency warned today that Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis as U.S. forces leave and Taliban fighters gain ground. At the same time, the Afghan government estimated more than 5, 600 families have fled homes in Northern Afghanistan in recent days. The refugees say they had no choice.

  • Mohammad Rahimi, (through translator):

    The government withdrew from districts without any planning and strategy and left areas under the control of Taliban. When all this happened, we had to leave our villages because the Taliban could easily kill anyone they wanted.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, it was widely reported that a senior Afghan delegation will fly to Qatar, trying to jump-start stalled peace talks with the Taliban.

    The Biden administration intensified warnings to businesses today about forced labor in China's Xinjiang region. The U.S. and others have charged that Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang are sent to labor camps and subject to other abuses. Today's warning says that companies with supply chains and investments in the region could violate U.S. law.

    Record heat across the Western U.S. has eased slightly, but dozens of wildfires raged on today. More than 60 fires are burning across 10 states, fueled by hot, dry conditions.

    We will focus on the largest one, now burning in Southwestern Oregon, later in the program.

    President Biden is nominating the former health commissioner of West Virginia to be the nation's top official in the fight against illegal drugs. The White House says that Dr. Rahul Gupta would be the first physician to serve as drug czar if the U.S. Senate confirms him.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 107 points to close at 34888. The Nasdaq fell 55 points. The S&P 500 slipped 15.

    And the Emmys made some history today. M.J. Rodriguez of the FX series "Pose" became the first transgender woman nominated for a lead acting role. Overall, "The Crown" on Netflix and "The Mandalorian" on Disney+ tied with 24 nominations apiece. Winners will be announced in September.

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