In our news wrap Monday, jury selection began in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Human rights activists disrupted the Olympic torch lighting in Greece - for the Beijing Winter Games. Former President Donald Trump filed suit to block release of his White House records about the January assault on the U.S. Capitol. Russia suspended its diplomatic mission to NATO.
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COVID-19 has reached deadly new records tonight in its long climb into the nation's history. The virus has now sickened 45 million Americans and killed 725,000.
At the same time, the latest surge has slackened and daily averages are down roughly 20 percent in the last two weeks.
One of the latest deaths came today. His family announced that Colin Powell has succumbed to complications from COVID. He was the first Black chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Black secretary of state and at one time a potential presidential candidate. His family says he had been battling a type of blood cancer, as well as Parkinson's disease. Colin Powell was 84 years old.
We will look at his life later in the program.
Jury selection has begun in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Three white men confronted him as he ran through their neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, in 2020. The defendants watch today as lawyers began questioning up to 1,000 potential jurors. The process could take two weeks or more.
Russia suspended its diplomatic mission to NATO today. It was the retaliation after the Western alliance expelled eight members of the Russian mission over alleged spying. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also announced that NATO offices in Moscow will be shuttered.
Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister (through translator) :
NATO is not interested in equitable dialogue and joint work. If that's the case, then we don't see the need to keep pretending that changes in the foreseeable future are possible, because NATO has already shown the impossibility of such changes.
Meanwhile, a Russian-led security bloc began major military drills near Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan. They are the largest in years, involving more than 5,000 troops.
Russia is concerned that Taliban control of Afghanistan might destabilize Central Asia, where Islam is a dominant religion.
Human rights activists disrupted the Olympic torch lighting today in Greece for the Beijing Winter Olympics. Three people sneaked into the ancient Olympia site with a banner that read "No Genocide Games." They were quickly arrested. Activists want the Games move because of China's treatment of Tibet and of Uyghur Muslims.
Former President Trump filed suit today to block release of his White House records about the January assault on the U.S. Capitol. A special congressional committee asked for the documents, and President Biden agreed last week to release them. The Trump lawsuit argues that they are protected by executive privilege.
Mr. Trump also gave a videotaped deposition over allegations that his security guards assaulted protesters in 2015. It stemmed from the day he announced for president and claimed that Mexican migrants were criminals and rapists. He now faces a civil lawsuit in New York.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to limit so-called forever chemicals that linger in the environment. The toxic compounds are known as PFAS and are used in everything from carpets to cookware, but they're also getting into water systems and food. The EPA said today that it wants to set new drinking water standards, among other things.
In economic news, China's growth slowed more than expected in the third quarter amid energy shortages and fears of a giant realtors default.
And in the U.S., on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 36 points to close at 35258. The Nasdaq rose 124 points. The S&P 500 added 15.