News Wrap: Kazakhstan government resigns amid violent protests over fuel prices

In our news wrap Wednesday, chaos erupted as protesters in Kazakhstan stormed government buildings and seized a major airport. The ruling cabinet resigned. At least 13 people were killed in Philadelphia, in the city's deadliest fire in at least a century. North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile for the first time in two months, apparently rejecting new diplomatic talks.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The CDC is taking new fire for shortening COVID quarantine periods to five days without requiring a negative test.

    The agency reaffirmed its decision last night. But, today, the American Medical Association said — quote — "The new recommendations are not only confusing, but are risking further spread of the virus."

    The AMA suggested a shortage of tests influenced the decision, but CDC the director denied that today.

  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director:

    First of all, this has nothing to do with the shortage of available tests, because you can see in our quarantine guidance that we actually do recommend a test for people to emerge from quarantine, and we do anticipate that there will be more people in quarantine than there are in isolation.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, the CDC's vaccine advisers recommended Pfizer booster shots for 12-to-15-year-olds.

    And the top-rank men's tennis player, Novak Djokovic, was denied entry to Australia for failing to show that he had been vaccinated. He had planned to play in the Australian Open.

    Tomorrow marks one year since the assault on the U.S. Capitol, and Capitol Police say they are made serious — that they have made serious progress since then.

    Chief Tom Manger told a Senate hearing today that the attack exposed critical deficiencies. But he said there has been improvement.

  • Tom Manger, U.S. Capitol Police Chief:

    We are sharing information better. We are assigning responsibilities. People know what their responsibilities are. And we have backups to each one of the different commanders.

    My hope is that, with the other processes planning that we have put into place, that there's not going to be the need for a panicked call for — in an emergency, that those things will be planned ahead of time.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will be returning to January 6 after the news summary.

    At least 13 people were killed today in Philadelphia in the city's deadliest fire in at least a century. Seven of the victims were children. Fire officials said a total of 26 people had been staying in the public housing duplex. It had four smoke alarms, but none was working. The cause is under investigation.

    In Kazakstan, chaos erupted as protesters stormed government buildings and seized a major airport. The ruling cabinet resigned, and the two largest cities declared emergencies. Police in Almaty confronted the crowds. But, as night came, fires burned and protesters battled the security forces.

    The Kazakh president vowed a tough response on state TV.

    Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakstan (through translator): The high level of organization by the thugs demonstrates a carefully thought-out plan of actions by financially motivated conspirators.

    Therefore, as the head of the country and the chairman of the Security Council, from today, I intend to act with maximum severity regarding lawbreakers.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The trouble began four days ago over spiking fuel prices, but quickly spread into demands for liberalization.

    North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile for the first time in two months, apparently rejecting new diplomatic talks. The North says that it was a hypersonic missile. South Korea says it was fired today from a mountainous northern province near China and landed in the sea.

    The U.S. and Germany stepped up warnings to Russia today not to invade Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the German foreign minister in Washington ahead of security talks with Russia next week.

    Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State: Russia has concerns. We will listen. We have concerns. And it's imperative that Russia listen. And I hope, again, as I said before, that we can find ways diplomatically through these conversations.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The two diplomats said that any action against Ukraine would have severe consequences, but they gave no specifics.

    A woman who accused former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of fondling her is condemning a decision to drop the charge. A prosecutor said Tuesday the case is too weak to proceed. The accuser, Brittany Commisso, says that it shows why sexual abuse victims are afraid to speak out.

    Louisiana today posthumously pardoned Homer Plessy, the man at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court's separate but equal decision in 1896. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the pardon in New Orleans. Plessy was arrested there in 1892 for violating a ban on Blacks sitting in whites-only train cars. The court upheld the law, cementing racial segregation in public accommodations in this country for decades.

    On Wall Street today, stocks dropped on fears that the Federal Reserve will accelerate interest rate hikes to fight inflation. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 392 points, 1 percent, to close at 36407. The Nasdaq fell 522 points. That's more than 3 percent. The S&P 500 was down 93 points, nearly 2 percent.

    And the nation's oldest World War II veteran, Lawrence Brooks, has died in New Orleans. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940 and served in a racially segregated engineering unit. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Brooks home, but he remained upbeat.

    Last year, during a birthday parade, he even danced a little.

    Lawrence Brooks was 112 years old.

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