News Wrap: FDA authorizes omicron boosters, inspectors head to Ukraine nuclear plant

In our news wrap Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized two updated COVID-19 boosters to target the omicron strain of the virus, life expectancy in the U.S. fell to just over 76 years as the pandemic continued to take its toll and U.N. inspectors are heading to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to safeguard the site which is currently in Russian possession.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The legal fight over the search of the Trump home in Florida has taken a new turn tonight.

    The U.S. Justice Department now says that classified materials were removed and concealed at Mar-a-Lago, possibly amounting to obstruction of justice.

    For his part, former President Trump insisted again today that he had declassified the documents. We will dig into the details after the news summary.

    The Food and Drug Administration authorized two updated COVID-19 boosters today, the first to target the Omicron strain. FDA officials said they want to head off another winter surge and cut down on repeated shots.

    Dr. Peter Marks, Director, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research: The hope here is not to have to give lots of vaccines each year. It's hopefully to have this be the vaccine that hopefully holds us for as much of this or for the entire season.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Pfizer's new booster will be available to anyone over 12. Moderna's is for adults only.

    U.S. life expectancy dropped again last year, as the pandemic took its toll. The CDC reports that the average American's life span fell to just over 76 years. That's down nearly a year from 2020. That compares with an average of nearly 79 years in 2019, before the pandemic hit. U.S. life expectancy has not been this low since 1996.

    In Ukraine, U.N. inspectors arrived in Zaporizhzhia City, en route to an endangered nuclear power plant. There's been repeated shelling around the site now under Russian control. The inspectors left from Kyiv today, saying they hope to avert a catastrophe. Their leader said they should reach the plant tomorrow.

  • Rafael Grossi, Director General, IAEA:

    My mission is a technical mission. It is a mission that seeks to prevent a nuclear accident and to preserve this important, the largest, the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, in the whole of Europe, not only in Ukraine.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The inspectors say they want to establish an ongoing presence at the plant.

    In Russia and around the world, Mikhail Gorbachev was remembered today. The last leader of the Soviet Union died Tuesday at 91, and his passing brought sharply different reactions.

    Nick Schifrin has our report.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    At Moscow's Gorbachev Foundation today, his memory hangs larger than life. Mikhail Gorbachev oversaw the end of the Soviet Union, after trying to create the change he believed it needed to survive.

  • Vladimir Polyakov, Former Gorbachev Press Secretary (through translator):

    Despite the fact that it was not easy, there was hope.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    The Cold War's victors today see it the same way.

  • Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister:

    When history is written, he will be, I think, one of the authors of a fantastic change for the better in the world. And what I worry about today is that the current leadership in Moscow is intent on undoing the good that Mikhail Gorbachev did.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war in Ukraine an attempt to restore Russian influence over historic Russian territory lost by Gorbachev.

    Putin has long argued Gorbachev trusted the West too much. And, today, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, suggested Gorbachev had been naive.

    Dmitry Peskov, Spokesman for Vladimir Putin (through translator): He sincerely wanted to believe that the Cold War would end and an eternal romantic period between the new Soviet Union and the world would arrive. That romanticism was not justified. The bloodthirstiness of our opponents showed itself.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Long ago, Putin killed Gorbachev's democratic changes. But outside of Russia, Gorbachev's legacy is still alive. President Biden said he had the imagination to see a different future and the courage to risk his career to achieve it.

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

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The funeral for Gorbachev will be Saturday in Moscow.

    Today marked 25 years since Britain's Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. In London, well-wishers paid their respects. They laid flowers and place tributes outside the gates of Kensington Palace, where the princess made her home. Diana was 36 years old at her death.

    Back in this country, California braced for another scorching heat wave that could last through Labor Day weekend. Forecasters say temperatures in Sacramento may reach 113 degrees, and coastal readings could hit 100. The state's electrical grid operator is appealing for conservation to avoid blackouts.

    On Wall Street, stocks finished their worst August in seven years, with major indexes down 4 percent or more for the month. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 281 points today to close at 31510. The Nasdaq fell 67 points. The S&P 500 slipped 31.

    And, in Spain, thousands gathered in the city of Bunol for the famed food fight known as Tomatina after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Trucks loaded with 130 tons of tomatoes rolled through the streets. And people pelted each other with the overripe fruit. The event was inspired by a food fight among local children in 1945.

    What a mess.

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