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In our news wrap Wednesday, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois are joining the move to end indoor mask mandates as the CDC works on new national guidelines, Canadian officials say anti-vaccine protests at U.S. border crossings must end, Russia's military moves keep the pressure on Ukraine, Iran unveils a new long-range missile, and Madagascar's death toll reaches 92 after a tropical cyclone.
Three more large states, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois, are joining the move to end indoor mask mandates. New York state announced today that its mask requirement expires tomorrow, except at health care sites and public schools. Illinois will do the same at month's end.
In response, the CDC said it is working on new national guidance and wants to be flexible.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director:
We have always said these decisions are going to have to be made at the local level, and that policies at the local level will look at local cases. They will look at how local hospitals are doing. They will look at local vaccination rates.
And they, as I understand it, in many of these decisions, are using a phased approach. Not all of these decisions are being made to stop things tomorrow.
Also today, Massachusetts announced plans to lift its public school mask mandate at the end of the month.
We return to masking in schools after the news summary.
Canadian officials insisted today that anti-vaccine protests at U.S. border crossings must end before they do serious economic damage. Traffic is now stalled between Port Huron, Michigan, and Sarnia, Ontario, and the busy Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, has been clogged since Monday.
The mayor of Windsor said today, it has to stop.
Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor, Ontario: It will have be resolved one way or the other. And I'm not saying that to suggest that we're going to go in battering rams and 1,000 police officers. That may not be the solution. But there has to be a resolution to get this border crossing open, so that we do not impact the economies of the United States and Canada.
A border crossing in Alberta is also blocked, and trucks have paralyzed downtown Ottawa for 13 days. Amid the protests, several Canadian provinces have announced plans to roll back COVID restrictions.
Russia's military moves kept the pressure on Ukraine today. Moscow released video showing a convoy in Belarus transporting an air defense system. The Russians plan joint military exercises with Belarus tomorrow. Meanwhile, the British foreign secretary flew to Russia, in the latest diplomatic effort to defuse the situation.
Iran has unveiled a new long-range missile reportedly capable of reaching Israel. State TV said today that the weapon is highly accurate and can defeat missile shield systems. It can fly 900 miles, putting it in range of U.S. bases in the Middle East, as well as Israel.
In Madagascar, the death toll has reached 92, with more than 100,000 people displaced, after a tropical cyclone last weekend. Most of the casualties came in an isolated, rural district of the island nation, some 330 miles from the capital city. Many homes in the area were made of earth, and collapsed in heavy flooding from downpours.
Now survivors are pleading for help.
Philibert Razananoro, Madagascar Resident:
Our TV, my C.D. player, all of our clothing, all the kitchenware, everything is gone. Moreover, we don't have anything to eat, and I'm jobless.
I call on the international community to help us, because the government won't be able to find solutions to our problems.
This was the second powerful storm to strike Madagascar since the year began.
Back in this country, a congressional committee subpoenaed Peter Navarro, who was President Trump's White House trade adviser. Navarro pushed false claims of election fraud, and the committee says he has information directly relevant to the causes of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Lawmakers in Congress have agreed on a spending framework for the fiscal year that began four months ago. There were no details today, but the bipartisan deal could jump-start legislation on defense and domestic spending. Currently, the government is operating on temporary stopgap funding.
The owner of pro football's Washington Commanders, Dan Snyder, is facing a new sexual harassment investigation. An independent probe announced today will focus on a former team employee's claim that Snyder groped her. A previous investigation found a toxic culture at the franchise.
On Wall Street today, tech stocks led another rally. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 305 points to close at 35768. The Nasdaq rose 296 points, 2 percent. The S&P 500 added 65.
And at the Winter Olympics, the U.S. claimed its first gold medal at the Beijing Games. Lindsey Jacobellis won gold in snowboard cross, her first, after competing in four previous Olympics. But American Mikaela Shiffrin was disqualified from her second event this week, after missing a gate in the slalom.
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