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News Wrap: More than 200 ships blocked as efforts to clear Suez Canal fail

In our news wrap Friday, congestion outside the suez canal grew to over 200 ships as officials failed to move a giant container ship that has been wedged in the waterway since Tuesday. Then, fresh appeals for the U.S. to share its COVID-19 vaccines after national demand is met. Also, the fight over China's alleged abuses of Uighur Muslims escalated as Beijing announced sanctions against Britain.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: There were fresh appeals for the U.S. to share COVID-19 vaccine with the world.

    Non-governmental groups urged President Biden to take that step once the U.S. meets its demand. But even as vaccinations accelerate, the CDC warned that new infections are up 7 percent over last week.

  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky:

    This has been a long year. And I know people are tired. And they don't want to hear that it is going to take us a little while longer, but it's going to take us a little while longer.

    Our advice is clear. We're vaccinating really, really quickly. And we're just asking people to hang on a little while longer in terms of the masks and mitigation strategies, so that we can get the majority of people vaccinated.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There was also word that the European Union will soon see an uptick in vaccine supplies. The European Medicines Agency approved new manufacturing sites today, in a bid to speed up a lagging vaccination effort.

    China has released its own report on the origins of COVID-19. It concludes the virus most likely came from an animal, and not from a government lab in Wuhan. The World Health Organization's report was due out today, but was delayed again.

    The fight over China's alleged abuses of Uyghur Muslims escalated today. Beijing announced sanctions against Britain, and it intensified boycotts of major retailers. Britain, the E.U., Canada, and the U.S. had sanctioned China earlier this week.

  • Hua Chunying (through translator):

    They announced sanctions against China based on rumors, lies and false information. It is a violation of the basic norms of international law. And we are certainly forced to carry out just, necessary and legitimate self-defense.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Britain said that it would not be intimidated, and the U.S. accused China of profiting from forced labor by Uyghurs.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban threatened to resume attacking foreign troops if they stay past a May 1 deadline. The U.S. agreed to the date last year, but President Biden said Thursday that it would be tough to meet.

    A train wreck in Southern Egypt left at least 32 people dead and 165 others injured today. One train rear-ended another, derailing and flipping passenger cars and trapping people in the wreckage. Scores of medical teams and bystanders rushed in to help the victims.

    Elsewhere in Egypt, congestion outside the blocked Suez Canal grew to more than 200 ships. A giant container ship has been wedged in the waterway since Tuesday. Dredgers and tugboats failed again today to free the vessel. Experts now say that it could take up to a week to pry it loose.

    Back in this country, it turns out the man who allegedly shot 10 people to death in Boulder, Colorado, had passed a background check before buying the murder weapon. Investigators said today that his previous misdemeanor assault conviction did not prevent the purchase. They also said that the search for a motive continues.

  • Maris Herold:

    I just don't know, and like the DA said, that's the focus now of what we're trying to figure out. It's–it'll be something haunting for all of us until we figure that out, and like someone said, sometimes you just don't figure these things out, but I am hoping that we will.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But the suspect in Colorado already faces 10 counts of murder. The district attorney said that he will bring attempted murder charges as well.

    Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said today that they have charged 55 people to date in connection with violent protests last summer. The charges range from arson to weapons violations. The protests erupted when a Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot seven times by a white police officer. Blake is now paralyzed and is suing the officer for unspecified damages.

    Dominion Voting Systems is accusing FOX News of defamation and suing for $1.6 billion. The suit alleges the cable news giant wantonly spread false claims that Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election. FOX News says that the action is baseless.

    Wall Street finished the week on a high, lifted by bank stocks and rising oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 453 points to close at 33072. The Nasdaq rose 161 points, and the S&P 500 added 65.

    And two passings to note tonight.

    Well-known author Larry McMurtry has died of heart failure. He focused largely on the American West, and won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel "Lonesome Dove." He also won an Oscar for the screenplay for "Brokeback Mountain." And his books "The Last Picture Show" and "Terms of Endearment" became Oscar-winning movies as well.

    Larry McMurtry was 84 years old.

    And beloved children's book author Beverly Cleary has died. Her publisher, HarperCollins, said that she died yesterday in Carmel, California, but gave no details. Cleary wrote more than 30 books, which went on to sell some 85 million copies. Her stories captivated generations of young readers with their humor and realism, featuring iconic characters such as Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins.

    Beverly Cleary was 104 years old.

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