News Wrap: Haitian gang threatens to kill captive U.S. missionaries unless ransom is paid

In our news wrap Thursday, a Haitian gang is now threatening to kill 17 kidnapped members of a U.S. missionary group unless its random demands are met. Democrats are sending mixed signals on whether they'll agree on a giant social spending package by the weekend. Attorney General Merrick Garland insisted he is not out to silence parents who confront school boards over curricula and mask mandates.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    A CDC panel has given its blessing to mixing and matching booster doses of various COVID vaccines.

    The action late today include the Madonna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, in addition to the Pfizer version already approved. Advisers to the FDA green-lit the new boosters yesterday.

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to hold President Trump's longtime ally Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. He had defied a subpoena from a committee investigating the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. The vote was almost entirely down party lines. We will take a closer look after the news summary.

    Democrats are sending mixed signals on whether they will agree on a giant social spending package by the weekend. Moderate Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said today that — quote — "This is not going to happen anytime soon."

    But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she still expects there will be agreement in coming days.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

    We're making great progress to our goal of securing a framework agreement for Build Back Better in a timely fashion. We're going to — it's budget be — although it's a smaller bill, it's still historic, transformational, and will make an enormous difference in the lives of America's working families.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The measure now reportedly totals roughly $2 trillion, down from the original $3.5 trillion. Moderates and progressives are still wrestling over tax hike, a child tax credit, and family leave, among other things.

    In Haiti, a gang is now threatening to kill 17 kidnapped members of a U.S. missionary group unless its demands are met. The demands total $1 million ransom for each captive. The threat came today, as the missionaries' families were urging people to pray for the victims and for the kidnappers.

    A 25-year-old London man was charged today with stabbing and killing a British lawmaker, Sir David Amess. Prosecutors said charged that the attacker, named Ali Harbi Ali, supports the Islamic State and that he targeted Amess for supporting airstrikes in Syria.

    Back in this country, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland insisted that he is not out to silence parents who confront school boards. A Garland memo this month asked the FBI to address threats over anti-racism curricula and masking mandates.

    Today, at a House hearing, he said he is focused on violence, despite Republican claims to the contrary.

  • Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH):

    Not in a million years did we dream that one day we'd see the Justice Department treat American parents as domestic terrorists.

  • Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General :

    The Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools.

    That is not what the memorandum is about at all.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The National School Boards Association has warned that incidents at school board meetings and threats of violence are on the rise.

    A former Minneapolis policeman was resentenced today for fatally shooting an unarmed woman in 2017. This time, Mohamed Noor got nearly five years in prison for manslaughter. The Minnesota Supreme Court overturned his earlier conviction for murder. Noor has said he thought the woman had a gun and was about to shoot.

    Texas is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to leave a new abortion law in place. It's the most restrictive in the nation, banning most abortions about six weeks into pregnancy. The state's filing says that the court should let a legal challenge to the law work its way through the courts. The Biden administration wants the law blocked immediately.

    The Federal Reserve announced today that it will bar its officials from investing in individual stocks and bonds. They would effectively be limited to holding mutual funds. Two top Fed officials resigned recently amid reports of questionable trades.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost six points to close at 35603. The Nasdaq rose 94 points. The S&P 500 added 13.

    And Britain's Queen Elizabeth is back home at Windsor Castle after spending last night in a hospital. Buckingham Palace says that doctors admitted her for examinations, but gave no specifics. The palace says she is in good spirits. The queen is 95 years old.

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