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News Wrap: New intelligence reveals pandemic’s damage in North Korea

In our news wrap Wednesday, there are reports the coronavirus pandemic is causing upheaval in North Korea. South Korean lawmakers were briefed on new intelligence indicating food costs soared in North Korea after China closed its border to stop the virus’ spread. Also, the Supreme Court of Israel has ruled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can proceed with a new government despite facing trial.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The U.S. Supreme Court is again considering religious objections to contraceptive coverage under Obamacare.

    The justices today heard arguments on the Trump administration's attempt to let more employers opt out of coverage for religious or moral rationales.

    We will get the details after the news summary.

    A black family in Georgia pressed today for authorities to act after the shooting death of their son. Ahmaud Arbery was killed after two men, white men, chased him. Now video of the incident has emerged.

    Yamiche Alcindor has our report.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    A graphic video, a shocking shooting, and many unanswered questions. This cell phone footage is believed to show Ahmaud Arbery jogging in a South Georgia neighborhood before coming upon two men in a truck.

    The 25-year old tries to get around them. And then:


  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The video, released yesterday, has brought national attention to the incident, which took place back on February 23. Some believe this is yet another example of an unarmed black person shot and killed unfairly.

    Charges were not initially brought against the two men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis. But after the video's release, a Georgia prosecutor announced he plans to call a grand jury.

  • Wanda Cooper:

    He was a happy-go-lucky person. He loved his family.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Wanda Cooper is Arbery's mother. In an interview yesterday, she said the process has taken too long.

  • Wanda Cooper:

    A lot of time has passed, and I'm ready to get these people who are responsible, you know, in jail.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Gregory McMichael told police he thought Arbery looked like a suspect in a nearby burglary. He said he and his son followed Arbery and told him to stop.

    Then, McMichael said Arbery — quote — "began to violently attack them." McMichael had been an investigator in the district attorney's office and a police officer. And, according to The New York Times, one of the original prosecutors on the case argued there was — quote — "insufficient probable cause" to arrest the two men.

    But he later requested to be removed from the case because his son worked in the prosecutor's office with Gregory McMichael.

    Today, the local president of the NAACP called for immediate action.

  • John Perry:

    Right now, we're calling for a law system that operates in integrity. And we believe that begins with the dismissal of the police chief that was in charge at the point of this incident.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Meanwhile, Georgia courts remain closed until at least June 13 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    An attorney for Arbery's family tells "NewsHour" the grand jury process would likely begin sometime after courts open back up.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said today that it has now opened its own probe of the shooting.

    The U.S. Department of Education released final rules today with new protections for the accused in sexual assault cases on college campuses. The overhaul narrows the definition of sexual harassment, and it requires live campus hearings and cross-examinations. We will return to this later in the program.

    The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may go ahead with forming a new coalition government. That is despite the fact that he is facing trial on corruption charges. Netanyahu says that he is hoping to swear in the new government next week.

    There is word that the coronavirus pandemic is doing serious damage in North Korea. Lawmakers in South Korea were briefed today on new intelligence. They said that the costs of food soared in the North after China closed its border to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Kim Byung Lee (through translator):

    Due to the anxiety over unstable prices of goods, North Koreans have been panic-buying daily necessities. North Korea's cabinet and security department have implemented various measures to stabilize prices, such as cracking down on market cornering.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The South Koreans say the pandemic is also why North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has stayed largely out of public view. The North maintains that it has had no infections.

    Today marked 75 years since Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies in World War II. The news touched off mass celebrations in London in 1945, after Britain had endured nearly six years of fighting. The war in Europe formally ended the next day.

    Back in this country, President Trump has vetoed a congressional resolution that would bar him from using military force against Iran. In his veto message, he called it — quote — "very insulting" and harmful to the national defense. The resolution passed after Qasem Soleimani, who was a top Iranian commander, was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

    And on Wall Street, recession fears weighed down much of the market. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 218 points to close at 23664. The Nasdaq did gain 45 points, but the S&P 500 slipped 20.

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