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In our news wrap Wednesday, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on legislation for health care costs, climate change, deficit reduction and more. Also, President Biden left isolation after testing negative for COVID, the WHO urged precautions for monkeypox, and two former Minneapolis police officers were sentenced in George Floyd's death.
In the day's other news: The U.S. Senate Democrat who deep-sixed a major climate and domestic spending bill weeks ago has apparently reversed course.
West Virginia's Joe Manchin announced an agreement this evening with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Manchin said he has agreed to support legislation on health care costs, climate change, deficit reduction, and other issues. He did not say why he changed his mind.
The United States has offered to trade prisoners with Russia in order to bring home pro basketball star Brittney Griner and a Michigan man, Paul Whelan. Hours earlier, before the Biden administration made that announcement, Griner told a Russian court that she was denied basic rights after her arrest on drug charges in February.
We will take a closer look at this situation after the news summary.
President Biden emerged from isolation today, after testing negative for COVID. He appeared in the White House Rose Garden for his first in person event since last week. He said his recovery shows that Americans can live without fear of the virus if they get vaccinated and boosted.
President Joe Biden:
COVID is still with us, as it has been for two-and-a-half years, but our fight against COVID is making a huge difference.
What's different now is our ability to protect ourselves from serious illness due to COVID. In fact, that's radically different today than it was just a year ago.
The president will continue wearing a mask around others for five more days, the White House says.
The World Health Organization is urging new precautions for those most at risk of catching monkeypox. The U.N. agency's head said today that 98 percent of cases so far have involved sexual relations between men. He advised limiting sexual partners, at least for now.
Here in the U.S., it's been another long, hot day in the Pacific Northwest, and now forecasters say the danger is going to last even longer. They have extended an excessive heat warning in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere through Saturday. Temperatures across the region were in the high 90s today after setting records on Tuesday.
Major gunmakers were called to account today at a congressional hearing. The House Oversight Committee reported five companies made a combined $1 billion over the past decade from AR-15-style weapons.
Democrat Carolyn Maloney challenged Marty Daniel, who is chief executive of Daniel Defense.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY):
Will you accept personal responsibility for your company's role in this tragedy and apologize to the families of Uvalde?
Marty Daniel, CEO, Daniel Defense:
These acts are committed by murderers. The murderers are responsible.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney:
Reclaiming my time.
You market weapons of war to civilians and children. You make millions by selling them, but when someone pulls the trigger, you refuse to accept responsibility.
As that hearing continued, news came of a lengthy indictment in the Fourth of July parade shooting outside Chicago. The man accused of killing seven people and wounding more than 30 will face 117 felony counts.
New federal prison sentences have been handed down in George Floyd's death two years ago. Former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao got three to three-and-a-half years today for violating Floyd's rights. Two other former officers have already been sentenced.
In Iraq, hundreds of protesters pushed into Parliament today. They were angry over the prospect of a prime minister linked to Iran. They waved Iraqi flags and chanted anti-Iran curses. Most were followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. His party won last year's elections, but could not form a governing coalition.
China is denying that it tried to recruit informants in the U.S. Federal Reserve system. The Wall Street Journal had reported that the Chinese wanted to obtain U.S. economic data. In Beijing today, the Foreign Ministry rejected the accusation.
Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman (through translator):
The report you mentioned is a political lie fabricated by a few Republican lawmakers who harbor ill intentions which has no factual basis. It seems that some American politicians have Chinaphobia and persecution mania.
The Journal report cited findings from a U.S. Senate investigation.
The U.S. Senate has approved major legislation to boost manufacturing of computer chips. The $280 billion measure includes grants and tax breaks to build chip facilities in the U.S. It passed 64-33. And the House will vote tomorrow.
Wall Street appeared to welcome the Federal Reserve's action on interest rates and Chairman Jay Powell's statements about what the Fed may do in the future.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 436 points today to close at 32197, 1 percent. The Nasdaq rose 470 points, 4 percent. The S&P 500 jumped more than 2.5 percent.
And two major unveilings in Washington today. The U.S. Capitol welcomed a statue of famed aviator Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She is the 11th woman to be so honored.
Meanwhile, a wall of remembrance was dedicated to veterans of the Korean War. It becomes part of the existing Korean War Memorial.
And Tony Dow of TV's "Leave It to Beaver" died today in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He played Wally Cleaver, the Beaver's older brother, from 1957 to 1963 and in a sequel series in the 1980s. He also became a highly regarded sculptor in later years. Tony Dow was 77 years old.
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