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In our news wrap Thursday, a jury in Louisville, Kentucky acquitted a former police officer of wanton endangerment stemming from Breonna Taylor's killing, bipartisan momentum builds for a ban on Russian oil shipments to the U.S., the Supreme Court rejected a Guantanamo detainee's request for secret information on his treatment, and 500,000 Australians are ordered to evacuate amid flooding.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK):
Our message should be clear and pretty simple. No more Russian energy should come into the U.S. for the duration of this bloody, horrifying and unprovoked war against Ukraine.
The White House did not rule out a ban, but did say it could mean even higher gas prices.
In Louisville, Kentucky, a jury acquitted a former police officer today of wanton endangerment stemming from Breonna Taylor's killing. Brett Hankison fired into her apartment during a no-knock drug raid in 2020. His shots missed her, but tore into a neighboring apartment. Taylor was shot and killed by other officers, but no one was charged in her death.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a Guantanamo detainee's request for secret information about his treatment. Abu Zubaydah was seized in Pakistan in 2002 and tortured at so-called CIA black sites. He wanted to question former CIA contractors, but the court ruled that their testimony could harm national security.
World powers and Iran have made significant progress toward restoring the 2015 nuclear deal at talks in Vienna. The U.S. State Department gave that assessment today, but said that several key issues remain unresolved. Meanwhile, the U.N. nuclear agency concluded that Iran's stockpile of highly enriched uranium is still growing.
In Australia, a flood disaster intensified around Sydney today, with half-a-million people ordered to evacuate now or get ready to do so. Several rivers overflowed near the country's most populous city. Water inundated roads, and officials said extreme rain threatened worse to come.
Dominic Perrottet, New South Wales Premier:
Please ensure that you are ready to evacuate. If you are subject to one of those evacuation orders, please get out. Those instructions are not there for the sake of it. They are there to keep you and your family safe.
Waters were also rising again in Brisbane as new thunderstorms arrived.
Back in this country, the Biden the CDC says that 90 percent of Americans live in counties with low or medium threats of COVID-19, so they don't need to mask up indoors. That is up from 70 percent last week. Meanwhile, the Biden administration asked Congress for another $22.5 billion for vaccines, treatments and research.
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved expanded health care and benefits for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. They would qualify even if they can't prove that their medical problems stem from exposure to toxins. The House bill has to be reconciled with a narrower Senate version.
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has reached a new settlement with states that sued for damages. The company's owners, the Sacklers, will pay up to $6 billion. That's more than an earlier settlement that was rejected by eight states. The Sacklers will also issue an apology. The agreement will need approval by a federal bankruptcy judge.
On Wall Street today, oil prices retreated some, but remained above $100 a barrel, and stocks gave ground as well. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 96 points to close at 33794. The Nasdaq fell 214 points. That's 1.5 percent. The S&P 500 slid 23 points.
And President Reagan's final chief of staff, Ken Duberstein, has died. He held that position for the last half of 1988, after serving as deputy chief of staff. He was a veteran Washington insider, and later became a consultant for the TV series "The West Wing." Ken Duberstein was 77 years old.
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