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News Wrap: New York sues NRA over alleged misuse of funds

In our news wrap Thursday, New York state is going to court in a bid to dissolve the National Rifle Association. The civil suit accuses top executives of diverting millions of dollars of the charitable organization’s funds for personal use. Also, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to ban use of the video-sharing app TikTok from federally issued devices. The House had already approved the measure.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Fresh data tonight highlights the U.S. economy's deep scars from COVID-19 amid negotiations on a new government relief package.

    Another 1.2 million people filed for state unemployment benefits last week. That is 20 straight weeks of more than a million claims.

    The talks between the White House and Democrats include restoring federal jobless benefits, but there is no agreement in sight.

    We will hear from congressional correspondent, Lisa Desjardins, after the news summary.

    The pandemic's nationwide toll in human lives is nearing 160,000, as confirmed cases approach 4.9 million. One of the latest to be infected is the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine. He tested positive today and canceled plans to greet President Trump in Cleveland this afternoon.

    In Beirut, Lebanon, authorities have detained 16 employees at the city's port, as they investigate Tuesday's catastrophic explosion. The blast killed at least 135 people, injured more than 5,000, and fueled a new wave of public fury.

    Special correspondent Jane Ferguson reports on the day's developments.

  • Jane Ferguson:

    After the massive blast destroyed much of Beirut, now comes the monumental clean-up. Groups of volunteers are working together, salvaging what they can.

    In some small way it helps distract from the trauma.

  • Man (through translator):

    You can't feel anything in Lebanon. There's nothing to be sad about or to think about.

  • Jane Ferguson:

    The shatter of falling glass continues, as if the city keeps breaking. The funerals of rescue workers began today, this one for a young female firefighter. Distraught family and colleagues wept goodbye.

    The scale of this tragedy has drawn the attention of the world. French President Emmanuel Macron walked the streets of Beirut and was quickly mobbed by angry people.

    "It's unacceptable. The corruption is unacceptable," a college student shouts at him.

    "Help us. There is no future for our kids here," pleads another person.

    France has led efforts to gather aid for Lebanon, in the grip of an economic collapse in recent months. Now even more help will be needed.

  • Emmanuel Macron (through translator):

    We will launch a European and international initiative to bring money and help directly to people. All this fear, this anxiety, the anger you have is against politicians and against corruption in the country.

  • Jane Ferguson:

    Protests calling for justice have begun. Mass demonstrations against government corruption and mismanagement have rocked Lebanon for nine months.

    Now, with the blast seemingly caused by negligence, highly explosive chemicals carelessly left in a warehouse, the fury is growing. America is sending help, too. General Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, pledged continued support, including shipments of food, water and medical supplies.

    Even before this disaster, Lebanon was bankrupt and unable to afford food and fuel. Now several hundred thousand of its people are homeless too, with a government incapable of helping them.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jane Ferguson.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Today marked 75 years since the United States dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It leveled the city and killed some 140,000 people.

    Elderly survivors marked the event at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The pandemic reduced turnout to fewer than 1,000. That's a fraction of past years.

    We will return to Hiroshima later in the program.

    New York state went to court today in a bid to dissolve the National Rifle Association. The civil suit accuses top executives of siphoning millions of dollars in funds for personal use.

    The state attorney general, Letitia James, says that it's a blatant violation of the NRA's nonprofit status in New York, where the group is incorporated.

  • Letitia James:

    It's clear that the NRA has been failing to carry out its stated mission for many, many years, and instead has operated as a breeding ground for greed, abuse and brazen illegality.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The NRA called the suit a baseless attack on Second Amendment rights. President Trump called it a terrible thing, and he suggested that the NRA move to Texas.

    New campaign fund-raising numbers are in, and President Trump outpaced former Vice President Biden last month. Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee reported taking in $165 million. The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee brought in $140 million.

    Still, the two campaigns now have almost the same amount of total cash on hand.

    The U.S. Senate today voted unanimously to ban any use of the video sharing app TikTok from federally issued devices. The House had already approved it. Lawmakers pointed to TikTok's Chinese ownership, and said it raises national security concerns over data collection by China. President Trump has threatened to ban TikTok outright.

    And on Wall Street, stocks soared — scored new gains and hit a new benchmark. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 185 points, to close near 27387. The Nasdaq rose 109 points to finish above 11000 for the first time, and the S&P 500 added 21.

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