In our news wrap Friday, the governor of Florida said that his state most likely has the first “homegrown” Zika outbreak in the Continental United States. Three men and one woman appear to have been infected by local mosquito transmission, the governor said. Also, in Michigan, six more state officials have been charged with misconduct and neglect in Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis.
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From the campaign trail to a major legal decision in a swing state. A federal appeals court today struck down a North Carolina law requiring voters to show certain forms of identification at the polls. It determined the legislation was passed with — quote — “racially discriminatory intent.” We will take a closer look at today’s decision, and its effect, right after this news summary.
In the day’s other news:
The governor of Florida said that his state likely has the first local Zika outbreak in the continental U.S. Mosquitoes are transmitting the virus in two Miami-area counties. So far, four people, one woman and three men, have been infected.
Governor Rick Scott announced the homegrown Zika outbreak this morning.
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R-Fla.):
Now that Florida has become the first state to have a local transmission, likely through a mosquito, we will continue to put every resource available to fighting the spread of Zika in our state. If it becomes clear more resources are need, we will not hesitate.
Over 1,650 Zika infections have been reported across the U.S., but, up until now, they have been linked to travel outside the U.S. mainland.
Six more state officials in Michigan have been charged with misconduct and neglect in Flint’s water crisis. Investigators found employees in the state’s health and environmental departments hid or manipulated evidence of dangerous lead levels in the city’s tap water. Michigan’s attorney general announced the new charges today at a news conference in Flint.
BILL SCHUETTE, Michigan Attorney General:
Each of these individuals attempted to bury or cover up, to downplay or to hide information that contradicted their own narrative, their story. And their narrative and their story was, there’s nothing wrong with Flint water, and it was perfectly safe to use. In essence, these individuals concealed the truth. They were criminally wrong to do so.
Nine Michigan public officials are now facing prosecution for their roles in the tainted water crisis. Today, investigators insisted they’re — quote — “working their way up” in the probe.
In Syria, three airstrikes hit a maternity hospital supported by the charity Save the Children. It was located in an opposition-held area in Idlib province. At least two people were killed. The bombing followed an overnight U.S.-led coalition airstrike that killed 28 civilians in an Islamic State-controlled village elsewhere in the north.
Turkey’s president said today that he will drop all lawsuits against hundreds of people charged in Turkey with insulting him. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also lashed out at Western powers for not showing solidarity with Turkey in the wake of a failed military coup earlier this month. Pentagon officials denied that the U.S. played any role in supporting the coup.
The International Organization for Migration today confirmed a dramatic surge in deaths among migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. It reported more than 3,000 migrants and refugees have died so far this year. That is a 60 percent increase in deaths over the same period last year.
In Poland, Pope Francis paid a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz today. The pontiff spent much of his pilgrimage in quiet contemplation, honoring the more than a million victims who died there during the Holocaust. He also met with several survivors and Christian Poles who rescued Jews. His only public comment was a message written in the site’s guest book, saying — quote — “Lord, forgive so much cruelty.”
Stocks were mixed on Wall Street today, after a slower-than-expected GDP growth report. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 24 points to close at 18432. The Nasdaq rose seven points, and the S&P 500 added three. For the week, both the Dow and the S&P 500 were down a fraction of a percent. The Nasdaq rose more than 1 percent.