News Wrap: DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19

In our news wrap Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for COVID-19. He's fully vaccinated and is isolating at home with mild congestion. Kidnappers in Haiti who abducted 17 members of a U.S. missionary group are demanding a million dollars for each captive. North Korea stoked new tensions after firing a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a vaccine mandate for health care workers in Maine. It is the first statewide requirement to reach the high court.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, tested positive for COVID. He's been fully vaccinated and is isolating at home with mild symptoms.

    And various reports have said that Brazilian lawmakers want to charge President Jair Bolsonaro with mass homicide over his pandemic policies. They say hundreds of thousands died in his bid for herd immunity.

    Kidnappers in Haiti who abducted 17 members of a U.S. missionary group are demanding $1 million for each captive. The country's justice minister confirmed it today. Meanwhile, in Port-au-Prince, the spike in overall crime has spurred protest strikes. Streets are quiet, and businesses, schools, and mass transit are closed.

    North Korea stoked new tensions today after firing a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. The North said it launched from a submarine. If true, that would mark a significant advance. Japan's new prime minister vowed a tough response.

  • Fumio Kishida, Japanese Prime Minister (through translator):

    I have instructed this government to consider all options. I will drastically strengthen our defense capabilities. My administration is determined to protect our land, territorial sea and airspace, as well as the people's lives and assets, no matter what.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This was North Korea's fifth weapons test since September. It followed a U.S. call for new talks on the North's nuclear weapons program.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban announced rewards for families of suicide bombers who attacked U.S. soldiers. They will receive cash and land.

    Separately, the World Health Organization said the Taliban has approved Afghanistan's first polio vaccination campaign in three years.

    Back in this country, the FBI raided homes in Washington and New York linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. He is allied with President Vladimir Putin, and is under U.S. sanctions over Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Agents spent hours at the two homes today. The FBI said only that it was acting on court warrants involving the U.S. sanctions.

    President Biden's pick to head Customs and Border Protection called today for more humane policy toward migrants. Chris Magnus is now police chief in Tucson, Arizona. He told his Senate confirmation hearing that he wants to secure the border and treat asylum seekers decently.

  • Chris Magnus, Tucson, Arizona, Police Chief:

    I don't believe that we have to sacrifice efficiency for humanity. And so I think humanity has to be part of the discussion, again, early and often throughout the careers of CBP members.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Magnus said that the Trump era policy that has allowed mass expulsions of asylum seekers during the pandemic.

    A federal grand jury today indicted a sitting congressman, Jeff Fortenberry, in a campaign finance case. The Nebraska Republican is accused of lying to the FBI and concealing information about contributions from a Nigerian billionaire in 2016. Fortenberry denies the charges.

    A new FDA proposal could make hearing aids more affordable for millions of Americans. The agency said today that it wants to allow people to buy the devices over the counter without prescriptions. The goal is to cut red tape and to bring down costs.

    And on Wall Street, stocks advanced on upbeat earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 198 points to close at 35457. The Nasdaq rose 107 points. And the S&P 500 added 33.

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