In our news wrap Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives opened a drive for the first major gun control measures in 20 years, activists in Myanmar say 12 more protesters were shot dead, China’s ceremonial legislature moved to tighten control over Hong Kong, Prince William denied that the royals harbor racist views, and Mississippi bans transgender athletes joining female sports teams.
In the day's other news: The U.S. House of Representatives opened a drive for the first major gun control measures in 20 years.
Democrats passed bills calling for background checks on all gun sales and an expanded 10-day review period. Similar bills died in the Senate when Republicans had control, but Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed today to hold votes.
Sen. Chuck Schumer:
The legislative graveyard is over. H.R.8 will be on the floor of the Senate, and we will see where everybody stands.
No more hopes and prayers, thoughts and prayers. A vote is what we need, a vote, not thoughts and prayers.
The Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, and the gun control bills would need 60 votes to pass.
The people of Japan marked 10 years today since an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima. The country fell silent at mid-afternoon, marking the moment the earthquake struck and honoring more than 20,000 people who died.
We will look at what's happened since later in the program.
In Myanmar, activists say that 12 more protesters against the military coup were shot dead today. Six died in Myaing, where people crouched in the street and then ran as security forces opened fire. Killings were also reported in four other cities.
Mainland China's ceremonial legislature has endorsed a move to tighten control over Hong Kong again. The measure approved today lets the central government name more of the territory's lawmakers. The vote in the national People's Congress was 2,895 to zero. Leaders insisted that it is in the best interests of all concerned.
Li Zhanshu (through translator):
The session has made the decision to improve Hong Kong's election, which is greatly supported by all the delegates. This illustrates the firm determination of the people, including those of Hong Kong, to safeguard national sovereignty, security and the constitutional order of Hong Kong
Beijing has steadily reined in Hong Kong's freedoms in a bid to suppress calls for greater autonomy.
The heir to the British throne, Prince William, denied today that the royals harbor racist views. He answered a shouted question at a public event, and said — quote — "We are very much not a racist family." The allegation came from his brother, Harry, and sister-in-law, Meghan, who is biracial.
Back in this country, the former police officer accused in George Floyd's death is now charged with third-degree murder again. A judge in Minneapolis reinstated the charge against Derek Chauvin today. That's in addition to second-degree murder and manslaughter. The ruling came as jury selection continued.
New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo faced mounting pressure to resign today over alleged sexual misconduct. A bipartisan majority of state lawmakers called for Cuomo to quit after an aide reportedly accused him of groping her.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined in the demand.
Mayor Bill de Blasio:
The latest report and the fact that we can talk about how many people are bringing through — bringing forward accusations, that it's not one, it's not two, it's not three, it's not four, it's not five, it's six women who have come forward, it's deeply troubling. It is disgusting to me. And he can no longer serve as governor.
Cuomo denied the latest misconduct claim and has refused to step down.
Late today, the speaker of the New York State Assembly authorized an impeachment investigation into the governor.
Mississippi's Republican governor signed a ban today on transgender athletes joining female sports teams. The bill takes effect July 1, pending legal challenges. More than 20 states are considering similar legislation.
In economic news, new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 712,000 last week, in a sign that layoffs are easing.
That news and the COVID relief package boosted Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 188 points to close at a new record, 32485. The Nasdaq jumped nearly 330 points, 2.5 percent, and the S&P 500 added 40, for another record close.
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