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In our news wrap Friday, Israeli strikes pounded Gaza killing at least 10 including a militant commander, Russia's foreign minister says Moscow is open to discussing a prisoner exchange involving American WNBA star Brittany Griner, deadly house fire in Pennsylvania kills seven adults and three children, and Alex Jones is ordered to pay over $45 million for claiming Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.
The U.S. has now regained all the jobs it lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of concerns about rising inflation and a possible coming recession.
Employers added 528,000 jobs last month, more than double what economists had predicted. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent. That's the lowest since the pandemic started.
At the White House, President Biden touted those achievements.
President Joe Biden:
There are more people working in America than at any point in American history.
You know, what we're also seeing something that, just a few years ago, many experts said was literally impossible, the revitalization of American manufacturing.
We'll have more on this after the news summary.
Senate Democrats are one step closer to passing a sweeping tax, climate, and health care bill now that Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema voiced her support. The last Democratic holdout agreed to vote for the package after party leaders altered some of its tax proposals. That gives Democrats enough votes to pass it. The Senate plans to move to vote — or, rather, to vote to move forward on the bill tomorrow.
Palestinian officials said that Israeli airstrikes pounded Gaza today, killing at least 10 people, including a militant commander. At least 55 people were wounded. The strikes followed days of tensions after Israel arrested another top militant from the same group in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian militants retaliated with their own barrage of rocket fire into Israel. There was no immediate word of any casualties.
Other forms of retaliation continue in the wake of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China announced that it is imposing sanctions on Pelosi and it is halting dialogue with the U.S. on climate change, military relations, and anti-drug efforts.
Beijing also reported more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships were part of live-fire military drills over Taiwan in the last two days, which the U.S. condemned.
Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State: These provocative actions are a significant escalation. We have seen how Beijing has attempted to change the status quo on Taiwan for some time. The speaker's visit was peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate, and escalatory military response.
We will get more perspective from a Taiwanese diplomat later in the program.
Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said today that Moscow is open to discussing a possible prisoner exchange involving American basketball star Brittney Griner. A judge convicted Griner of drug possession and smuggling yesterday and sentenced her to nine years in prison. She has been detained since February for having vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.
Back in this country, a deadly house fire in Northeastern Pennsylvania killed seven adults and three children. A volunteer firefighter responding to the call told a local paper that the victims were members of his own family, including his young son and daughter. Authorities said that a criminal investigation is under way.
A jury in Texas has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay over $45 million in punitive damages to the parents of a boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School rampage. Jones repeatedly claimed that the 2012 shooting massacre that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax.
More results rolled in from this weeks state primaries. Former TV news anchor Kari Lake won the Republican primary for Arizona governor. Lake was endorsed by former President Trump and she campaigned on false claims of election fraud.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, Jason Martin won the Democratic nomination for governor. And far right candidate Andy Ogles won the Republican primary for an open congressional seat in Nashville.
And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today, as investors weighed the latest jobs report and the prospect of future interest rate hikes. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 76 points to close at 32803. The Nasdaq fell 63 points. And the S&P 500 slipped seven.
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