In our news wrap Friday, the FDA will allow 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory to be used, but about 60 million doses will be thrown out. Also, the U.N. warned violence in Myanmar is worsening, authorities are investigating a power outage in Puerto Rico that left 900,000 customers in the dark, and this year's Pulitzer Prizes were awarded.
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In the day's other news: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory to be released for use, but about 60 million doses will be thrown out.
The factory, owned by Emergent BioSolutions, was shut down in mid-April for cross-contamination, unsanitary conditions, and other problems.
For the record, Johnson & Johnson is a "NewsHour" funder.
The U.S. Justice Department's inspector general has launched an investigation into reports that the Trump administration secretly seized the phone data of journalists and some of the former president's top critics in Congress. They include two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff and California Representative Eric Swalwell. It was part of an effort to find out if anyone was leaking information related to the Russia probe.
We will have more on this after the news summary.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged today that the Justice Department will aggressively defend the nation's voting rights. He made that vow as a number of Republican-led states are moving to tighten their election laws to make them more restrictive. Garland said the Justice Department won't hesitate to act if it sees any violations.
Attorney General Merrick Garland:
That means ensuring that all eligible voters can cast a vote, that all lawful votes are counted, and that every voter has access to accurate information. The Department of Justice will never stop working to protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.
Garland also said his department is doubling the number of prosecutors who will be devoted to enforcing voting rights.
The United Nations human rights chief warned that violence in Myanmar is worsening, amid a military buildup. The fighting first erupted after troops ousted the elected government back in February.
Today in Geneva, a U.N. spokesperson cited reports that they are now shelling homes and churches, while blocking access to aid.
In just over four months, Myanmar has gone from being a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe.
In addition to the loss of life, people are suffering from severe impacts on their social and economic rights. The military leadership is singularly responsible for this crisis, and must be held to account.
The ongoing violence has forced more than 108,000 people in the Eastern Kayah State to flee their homes over the past three weeks.
In Puerto Rico, an investigation is under way today into what caused a fire at a power substation that left 900,000 customers in the dark yesterday. A transformer blew in a secured area hours after the power company, LUMA Energy, was targeted by a cyberattack. The company had already struggled with outages that impacted more than a million customers earlier this month.
Stocks managed modest gains on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13 points to close at 34479. The Nasdaq climbed 49 points, and the S&P 500 added eight, to notch another record close.
And this year's Pulitzer Prizes were awarded today. The Minneapolis Star Tribune won for its coverage of the killing of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier, the then-teenager who recorded a video of Floyd's death, was awarded a special citation. The New York Times was honored for its coronavirus reporting. Louise Erdrich's novel "The Night Watchman" took the prize for fiction.
And one of our special correspondents, Nadja Drost, won for her coverage of migrants crossing the Darien Gap for "The California Sunday Magazine."
Congratulations to all.