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In our news wrap Wednesday, the crackdown in Kazakhstan has led to the arrest of another 1,700 people for allegedly taking part in violent protests, bringing the total to 12,000. Also, Senate Republicans fired back after President Biden denounced them for stalling voting rights legislation, and a federal judge will allow a sexual abuse lawsuit to move forward against Britain's Prince Andrew.
In the day's other news: Inflation surged in December at the fastest pace in 40 years.
The U.S. Labor Department reports the Consumer Price Index rose 7 percent from a year earlier. Used car prices spiked 37 percent, and clothing prices were up nearly 6 percent.
We will take a closer look after the news summary.
Senate Republicans fired back today after President Biden denounced them for stalling voting rights legislation. On Tuesday, the president likened opponents of the bills to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and he said abuse of the filibuster smacks of totalitarian states.
Today, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it an incoherent rant.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
He invoked the literal Civil War, and said we are on the doorstep of autocracy? Talked about domestic enemies? Rhetoric unbecoming of a president of the United States.
The president was asked later about the criticism. He said — quote — "I like Mitch McConnell. He's a friend."
We will return to the fight over voting rights and the filibuster later in the program.
A congressional committee is asking to interview House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy about last year's assault on the U.S. Capitol. The panel said today that it also wants information about President Trump's actions on January 6 and about events in the days before and after. McCarthy had no immediate response.
The state Supreme Court in Ohio threw out redistricting plans for the state legislature today. Democrats had argued that the boundaries are gerrymandered to hold Republican supermajorities. The judge ordered them redrawn within 10 days.
Just yesterday, a panel of judges in North Carolina approved new congressional and legislative districts drawn by Republicans.
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lay in state at the Capitol in Washington today. Lawmakers paid their respects in a ceremony circumscribed by COVID protocols.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Reid a legendary leader who made the world a better place.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
Harry truly loved his home state of Nevada. Over his entire career, he fought tirelessly for Nevada in every possible way, for its working families, whether preserving its natural environment or protecting its political environment, including its coveted role in the presidential selection process.
Later, President Biden also visited the Capitol to pay his respects. Reid died last month from pancreatic cancer. He was 82.
In Kazakstan, a government crackdown has hauled in another 1,700 people in the wake of last week's violent protests. That brings total arrests to 12,000. Today, people waited outside a building in Almaty that houses a large jail. They wanted information friends and relatives, but military checkpoints kept them away.
A federal judge in New York will allow a sexual abuse lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew to move forward. American Virginia Giuffre alleges that the prince abused her when she was 17, after the late Jeffrey Epstein arranged it. The judge today rejected the prince's argument that the suit violates a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein.
On Wall Street, stocks had a quiet day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 38 points to close at 36290. The Nasdaq rose 35 points. The S&P 500 added 13.
The music world is mourning Ronnie Spector tonight. The leader of the Ronettes in the 1960s died today in Los Angeles of cancer. They were one of the leading acts of the girl group era. Their string of hits included "Be My Baby," "Baby, I Love You," and "Walking in the Rain." Ronnie Spector was 78 years old.
And a rat that became a hero in Cambodia for sniffing out land mines has died of natural causes. Over five years, the rodent, named Magawa, found more than 100 land mines and explosives left over decades of civil war. He was retired last year and given a gold medal.
And he deserved it for saving all those lives.
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