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News Wrap: Moderna says its vaccine effective in children ages 12 to 17

In our news wrap Tuesday, Moderna announced its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects children as young as 12, and plans to seek emergency FDA approval. Airlines began avoiding Belarus after a plane was forced down on Sunday, and a dissident journalist was arrested. The White House announced President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin will hold a summit next month in Geneva.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Moderna announced its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects children as young as 12. The drugmaker plans to ask the FDA for emergency authorization. The agency already approved Pfizer's vaccine for teens.

    And, in an important milestone, half of all U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated. Still, the CDC urged caution today during the coming holiday.

  • Rochelle Walensky:

    If you are unvaccinated, in the context of Memorial Day weekend, we are really encouraging you to adhere to our guidance for people who are unvaccinated and, of course, to get vaccinated.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, White House COVID adviser Andy Slavitt demanded that China and the World Health Organization give definitive answers on the virus' origin. There had been renewed reports that it might have been accidentally released by someone working at a Chinese lab.

    Airlines began avoiding Belarus today, after a plane was forced down there on Sunday and a dissident journalist was arrested. Animation from a Swedish firm showed airliners diverting around Belarusian airspace. European officials had urged the move. Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko has been cracking down on leaders of last year's mass protests.

    The White House says President Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin will hold a summit next month in Geneva. It's to be their first face-to-face encounter since Mr. Biden took office, and it will come at the end of his first international trip.

    The Biden administration issued an international call today to rebuild the Palestinian territory Gaza, without helping the militant organization Hamas. The latest war between Hamas and Israel ended Friday in a cease-fire.

    In Jerusalem today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and said helping Gaza now could stave off yet another war.

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken: We know that, to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Blinken did not meet with Hamas, which the U.S. regards as a terrorist group. He did announce that the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem will reopen to help manage relations with the Palestinians.

    Back in this country, a federal judge in New York dismissed an indictment against Steve Bannon, a former adviser to former President Trump. He was accused of defrauding investors in a Southern border wall project. The judge cited President Trump's pardon of Bannon back in January just before leaving office.

    Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives denounced Marjorie Taylor Greene today for saying mask — face mask mandates are like the Nazis' treatment of Jews.

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called it appalling, but he did not demand disciplinary action against the congresswoman. It's the latest in a series of blowups involving the Georgia representative.

    A congressional hearing today put a spotlight on the growing drought emergency in the Western U.S. Nearly all of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah are now in extreme drought conditions. A U.S. Interior Department official told the hearing that the drought is on an epic scale.

  • Liz Klein:

    In California, we're approaching one of the driest years since we started recording in 1896. Water years 2020 and 2021 are the second driest two-year period on record.

    In the Colorado River Basin, we're undergoing the driest 21-year period in over 100 years of record-keeping and one of the longest drought cycles in the past 1,200 years.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Scientists blame the drought on climate change caused by humans, as well as other factors.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 81 points to close at 34312. The Nasdaq fell four points. The S&P 500 slipped nine.

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