In the our news wrap Thursday, Chinese political dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo died Thursday of liver cancer. He'd been released from a state prison last month. Also, former President Jimmy Carter was hospitalized for dehydration in Canada.
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And in the day's other news: President Trump held talks in Paris with the president of France, but he faced questions about his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer aimed at getting information harmful to Hillary Clinton.
At a joint news conference, Mr. Trump dismissed criticism of the meeting, and said — quote — "It's called opposition research."
We will have a full report after the news summary.
In China, political dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo died today of liver cancer. He had been released from a state prison last month and hospitalized, but was barred from going abroad for treatment. Liu was one of the Chinese government's most vocal opponents, and spent decades campaigning for greater human rights. He was imprisoned in 2009 for subversion. His death drew widespread criticism of Beijing.
SALIL SHETTY, Secretary-General, Amnesty International:
I think it's outrageous for the Chinese government to weave the fiction that Liu Xiaobo was a criminal.
It's very clear that, thanks to Liu Xiaobo, millions of people, not just in China, but across the world, have been inspired to stand up for freedom and justice in the face of oppression.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China to release Liu's wife, who is under house arrest. And the White House said President Trump was deeply saddened by the news.
Liu Xiaobo was 61 years old.
Former President Jimmy Carter was hospitalized for dehydration today in Canada. Mr. Carter is 92. Habitat for Humanity said he had been working in the sun building homes for the needy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The organization said the former president told them he is OK, and he urged the crew to keep building.
The number-three Republican in the U.S. House, Steve Scalise, has had another round of surgery after being shot last month. The Louisiana Republican was seriously wounded when a gunman attacked a congressional baseball practice. Hospital officials in Washington say the latest surgery was to treat infection.
The U.S. Justice Department today has charged more than 400 people with opioid scams and health care fraud. The alleged schemes totaled $1.3 billion in false billing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it the largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history.
Six teenage girls from Afghanistan will be allowed into the U.S., after all, to take part in a robotics competition. The team had twice been denied visas, but the White House says President Trump intervened to reverse that decision. Today, the girls flew to the capital city of Kabul from Western Afghanistan to get their travel documents.
They said they are excited to finally be on the way.
FATEMAH QADERYAN, Robotics Competitor (through interpreter):
We were disappointed when the Americans made a difference between Afghanistan and other countries on not issuing visas to us. At that time, we lost hope and we were feeling sad. But now we are very happy that they have given us a chance to go.
U.S. officials have not said why the team was previously denied entry. Afghanistan is not one of the countries on the president's travel ban list.
In Washington, the Congressional Budget Office said today that the president's budget and spending plan for the coming year falls far short of what the White House promised. Instead of creating a small surplus, the CBO reports that there would still be a deficit of some $720 billion at the end of 10 years. It says the budget proposal relies on economic growth projections that are far too optimistic.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have reached initial agreement on expanding college aid for veterans. It aims to fill coverage gaps in benefits that were enacted after 9/11. The new proposal would lift a 15-year time limit for vets to tap into education benefits. It also adds more money for thousands of members of the National Guard and Reserve.
The trustees of the U.S. government trust fund that pays Medicare bills say that it will go broke in 2029. And that is one year later than last year's forecast. They also estimated that Social Security will be depleted by 2034. That is the same as last year's prediction.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 21 points to close at 21553. The Nasdaq rose 13, and the S&P 500 added four.
And American tennis player Venus Williams is now the oldest player to reach a Wimbledon final in more than 20 years. In the semifinals today, Williams, at the age of 37, made quick work today of Britain's Johanna Konta, who's 26. On Saturday, Williams goes for her sixth Wimbledon championship.