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News Wrap: Former China security chief gets life in prison

In our news wrap Thursday, China's former security chief Zhou Yongkang has been sentenced to life in prison on charges of corruption. Zhou is the highest-ranking former Communist official to face such charges. Also, a Cleveland judge ruled that there is enough evidence to charge two policemen in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. But the ruling cannot compel prosecutors to charge them.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And in another news today, a Cleveland judge said there is enough evidence to charge two policemen in the November shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

    The municipal court found that officer Timothy Loehmann could face murder and involuntary manslaughter counts. His partner, Frank Garmback, could also be charged with reckless homicide and dereliction of duty. But the judge's ruling cannot compel prosecutors to charge the two officers.

    China's former security chief has been sentenced to life in prison on charges of corruption. Zhou Yongkang is the highest-ranking former Communist official to face such charges, as part of current President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. Zhou was convicted of receiving bribes, abusing his power, and leaking state secrets. He appeared in the Beijing courtroom following a closed-door trial.

    ZHOU YONGKANG, Former Security Chief, China (through interpreter): I accept the sentence. I decide not to appeal. I plead guilty and repent my wrongdoing. I broke the laws and the party rules incessantly, and the objective facts of my crimes have resulted in grave losses to the party and to the nation.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Zhou retired in 2012, and was put under investigation a year later.

    The co-pilot who smashed a German passenger plane into the French Alps last March was deemed unfit to fly by some of the doctors who saw him in the month before the crash. That word came today from a French prosecutor probing the crash, which killed all 150 people aboard. He said the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, was looking into problems with his vision, and — quote — "feared going blind." But doctors didn't raise concerns with his employers, on account of Germany's tough patient privacy laws.

    The manhunt for two convicted murderers who escaped from an Upstate New York prison over the weekend intensified today after bloodhounds appeared to pick up their scent. Officials searched vehicles at checkpoints near the prison as investigators focused on an area two miles east of the facility. The Associated Press reported the men may have laid low in the area after their getaway driver backed out.

  • JENNIFER FLEISHMAN, New York State Trooper:

    At this time, we are remaining in the area until we have conducted a thorough search. We are looking under every rock, behind every tree and inside every structure until we catch these two.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Five hundred police officers are involved in the search efforts, which have also expanded into Vermont.

    Social media giant Twitter announced that its CEO is stepping down. Dick Costolo will resign as chief executive on July 1, after a five-year tenure. This follows criticism from investigators about the company's business plan.

    Former President Bill Clinton has said that he could quit giving paid speeches if his wife Hillary is elected president. But he insisted, during an interview yesterday with Bloomberg Television, that he will still give speeches on subjects he's interested in. Last month, the Clintons revealed they earned more than $25 million in speaking fees since the start of 2014. Mr. Clinton also said that it would be up to his wife to decide if he'd stay at the Clinton Global Initiative.

  • FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON:

    I believe if you have been president, and the current president of either party asks you to do anything, if in good conscience you can do it, you should do it. Now, that's the truth, quite apart from our being husband and wife. That will be not an easy decision, should she be elected president.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Mr. Clinton started the foundation in 2005.

    America's multiracial population is growing at a rate three times higher than the U.S. population as a whole. That's according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. It found 6.9 percent of the U.S. population has more than one race in their background, including parents or grandparents. Whites with Native American ancestry comprise half of the current population of mixed-race Americans. But they're also among the least likely to identify as multiracial.

    In economic news, the Federal Reserve reported American household wealth rose to a record high of $84.9 trillion in the first quarter. That's largely due to rising stock and home prices.

    And on Wall Street today, stocks traded slightly higher on strong retail sales and optimism about Greece's debt talks. The Dow Jones industrial average gained almost 39 points to close at 18039. The Nasdaq rose nearly six points, and the S&P 500 was up more than three.

    Jazz legend and saxophonist Ornette Coleman died today in New York City. He was known for his groundbreaking avant-garde playing style known as free jazz. Coleman's career spanned more than five decades, taking his innovative style to shows around the world, like this 1987 performance in Germany.

    (MUSIC)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Ornette Coleman was 85 years old.

    Tributes also poured in today for late British actor Christopher Lee. Lee rose to fame portraying the bloodsucking title character in nine Dracula films. He went on to play other notable villains, including Scaramanga in the James Bond flick "The Man With the Golden Gun," and the wizard Saruman in the blockbuster series "The Lord of the Rings."

    Christopher Lee died Sunday at a hospital in London. He was 93 years old.

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