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News Wrap: Germany confirms Russia’s Navalny was poisoned

In our news wrap Wednesday, Germany says it has confirmed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was indeed poisoned. He fell into a coma last month in Siberia and is now in a Berlin hospital. German Prime Minister Angela Merkel said he tested positive for Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Also, the U.S. has imposed new sanctions on the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor and a top aide.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The pandemic and public schools headline the presidential campaign news tonight.

    Democrat Joe Biden hammered away at President Trump today, saying schools are facing a — quote — "national emergency."

    In his home town of Wilmington, Delaware, he called out Mr. Trump for failing to provide more aid.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    This is an emergency, Mr. President. This is an emergency.

    And Donald Trump and his FEMA should treat it as one. Mr. President, where are you? Where are you? Why aren't you working on this? We need emergency support funding for our schools, and we need it now.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee reported raising a record haul of $364 million in August.

    Meanwhile, President Trump traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. He spoke at the Battleship North Carolina, now a floating museum and memorial.

    There is word that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by late October or early November for health care workers and high-risk groups. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed today that it has notified public health officials in all 50 states and five major cities. The pandemic has so far claimed 185,000 lives nationwide.

    Germany says that it has confirmed that Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was, indeed, poisoned. Navalny became violently ill and fell into a coma last month in Siberia, and is now in a hospital in Berlin.

    German Prime Minister Angela Merkel announced he has tested positive for Novichok. It's a Soviet-era nerve agent.

  • Angela Merkel (through translator):

    Alexei Navalny is the victim of a crime. He was meant to be silenced. And I condemn this in the sharpest possible manner, in the name of the entire German government. We expect the Russian government to explain itself for this incident.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The same nerve agent was used on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain in 2018. Moscow said today that it is waiting to see the official findings.

    The United States has imposed new sanctions on the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor and a top aide. It is retaliation for their investigations of alleged American war crimes in Afghanistan. The penalties include a freeze on the court officials' assets. They were already under a U.S. travel ban.

    Fourteen people went on trial in France today, accused of helping plan attacks on a satirical newspaper and a kosher supermarket in 2015. The Islamist raids killed 17 people. All three gunmen died as well. The newspaper Charlie Hebdo had published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

    Lawyers representing the paper said today that the trial is about defending freedom against terror.

  • Richard Malka (through translator):

    That's what Charlie Hebdo is about: the refusal to give up freedom of expression, including blasphemy, criticizing ideologies, dogmas, religions, because, if we give up, we are not anymore in a country with freedom of expression. We would be in a country of fear, with a dark future.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Most of the defendants say they did not understand the kind of crime they were helping TO coordinate.

    Back in this country, two prominent Democratic incumbents have been renominated in Massachusetts. On Tuesday, Senator Ed Markey held off a challenge from fellow Democrat Representative Joe Kennedy III. Kennedy is the first of his famous family to lose an election in the Bay State.

    And Representative Richard Neal, the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, defeated his progressive challenger, Alex Morse.

    Mississippi is one step closer to getting a new state flag. The old flag, featuring a Confederate emblem, was retired two months ago. Today, a state commission recommended a new design featuring a magnolia. Voters will decide whether to accept it in November.

    The Congressional Budget Office is projecting a record federal budget deficit of $3.3 trillion for this fiscal year. That is three times the red ink of 2019, and it's driven by pandemic losses and relief costs.

    But on Wall Street, stocks rallied again, partly on hopes for a COVID vaccine. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 455 points to close at 29100. The Nasdaq rose 116 points, and the S&P 500 added 54, hitting records for both.

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