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News Wrap: Ferguson fires three for racist emails following DOJ report

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

      The strong jobs report pushed stocks on Wall Street down, on fears that it means an interest rate hike is imminent. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 280 points to close under 18000. The Nasdaq fell 55 points. The S&P 500 lost 30 points. For the week, the Dow and S&P lost 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq slipped less than a percent.

    City officials in Ferguson, Missouri, fired three employees today because of racial bias found in their e-mails. It followed this week’s release of a federal report on police practices there in the wake of the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson. During a college town hall in South Carolina today, President Obama said the report had exposed a — quote — “broken, racially biased system.”

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    One of the things that I think frustrated the people of Ferguson, in addition to the specific case of Michael Brown, was this sense of, you know what, we have been putting up for this for years, and now, when we start talking about it, everybody’s pretending like it’s just our imaginations.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    President Obama also made clear he agreed with the Justice Department’s decision not to charge Darren Wilson, saying the standard for federal charges is high and the officer is entitled to due process.

    It was widely reported today that criminal corruption charges are pending against Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. U.S. officials have told several media outlets the charges will be filed in the coming weeks. They relate to an investigation involving a Florida donor who is a close ally of Menendez. Today, a Menendez aide said the senator’s actions have been — quote — “appropriate and lawful.”

    A huge swathe of the U.S. spent today digging out after a massive winter storm. The cleanup came with record-shattering cold from Texas to New York. In some places, temperatures were 10 to 30 degrees below normal. In Central Kentucky, traffic on a major highway was flowing again after stalled tractor-trailers were removed overnight. Some drivers were trapped for nearly 24 hours.

    Iraqi government forces closed in on a strategic city that’s been held by Islamic State militants since last June. They made it to towns on the outskirts of Tikrit, but retreating Islamic State fighters left the area rigged with bombs. Meanwhile, reports the Islamic State bulldozed the ancient city of Nimrud in Northern Iraq drew condemnation. The head of the U.N.’s Cultural Agency called it a war crime, and archaeologists said, if true, it was a major loss.

  • MARK ALTAWEEL, University College London:

    There’s nothing like Nimrud. This is a site where we have had numerous discoveries that are unique, the queen’s tombs, the ivories that have been found there. All these are very unique kinds of finds, so we know this is a site of substantial importance and uniqueness in the ancient Near East, so any damage to it is of grave concern. JUDY WOODRUFF: Nimrud dates back almost 3,000 years and is considered one of the 20th century’s most important archaeological finds.

    The Department of Justice is calling it the largest data breach in the history of the Internet and today charged three people in an e-mail hacking scheme. Two are Vietnamese citizens. One is Canadian. Between 2009 and 2012, they stole over a billion e-mail addresses, sent spam marketing to them, and made millions of dollars in profit. Two of the men are in custody. One remains at large.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first low-cost version of a biotech drug. These are drugs made from a living organism. It’s a copy of the drug Neupogen that boosts blood cells in cancer patients to help fight infection. It wasn’t until 2012 that the FDA even had a system to approve cheaper copies of expensive biotech drugs. The so-called biosimilar will launch later this year. But there were no immediate details about its pricing.

    In Wisconsin, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a strong anti-labor law today after an overnight debate. The so-called right-to-work law prohibits businesses and unions from requiring workers to pay union dues. Democrats argued the measure would reduce wages and stunt job growth. The state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, is expected to sign it into law Monday; 24 other states already have similar legislation on the books.

    Jim Boeheim, the coach of the Syracuse University men’s basketball team, was suspended today for nine games next season. After a long investigation by the NCAA, officials found he didn’t properly oversee the basketball program when a series of academic, drug and other violations were committed. The NCAA also took away scholarships and put the school on probation for five years.

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