News Wrap: Number of active-duty military suicides jumped 15% in 2020

In our news wrap Thursday, the number of suicides in the active-duty U.S. military rose 15 percent last year — to 580. The Biden administration is rolling out a more lenient approach to immigration enforcement. U.S. senators attacked Facebook over findings that its Instagram platform can harm teenagers' mental health. The stock market closed out a month of stark downturns.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: On this last day of September, the stock market closed out a month of stark downturns.

    The Dow Jones industrial average lost 546 points today to close at 33844. The Nasdaq fell 64 points. The S&P 500 slipped 52. Overall, the S&P and the Nasdaq had their worst month since the pandemic started, down nearly 5 percent or more. The Dow lost more than 4 percent, for its worst month in nearly a year.

    The National School Boards Association sought federal help today to investigate threats over mask mandates and other pandemic measures. The group wrote to President Biden and warned that rising violence and threats are — quote — "equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes."

    Meanwhile, at a U.S. Senate hearing, Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said there's plenty of precedent for COVID protective measures.

    Xavier Becerra, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary: Fifty years ago, some people protested using seat belts. Today, we don't. We know how safe and effective they are. Same thing with vaccines. Same thing with masks. Same thing with social distancing. Same thing with better ventilation. Same thing with better hygiene.

    We know what works. It's common sense.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    At the same hearing, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona condemned hostility against school board members. He said that, in some places, it has turned dangerous.

    The Biden administration is rolling out a more lenient approach to immigration enforcement. New guidelines will target only migrants who illegally entered the country since last November or who pose a threat to public safety. Then-President Trump directed authorities to go after anyone in the country illegally. The new rules take effect November 29.

    The number of suicides in the active-duty U.S. military rose 15 percent last year, to 580. The overall suicide rate rose only slightly. The figures are part of a Pentagon report released today. Officials say they did not see any influence from the COVID pandemic.

    U.S. senators attacked Facebook today over findings that its Instagram platform can harm teenagers' mental health. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Facebook's own research shows peer pressure on Instagram fuels eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.

    Today, Democrat Richard Blumenthal challenged the company's global safety chief, Antigone Davis, as she disputed those accounts.

    Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety, Facebook: We are looking to find ways to release more of this research. I want to be clear that this research is not a bombshell. It's not causal research. It's, in fact, just directional research that we use for product…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • SEN. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT):

    Well, I beg to differ with you, Ms. Davis.

    This research is a bombshell. It is powerful, gripping, riveting evidence that Facebook knows of the harmful effects of its site on children and that it has concealed those facts.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Next week, the senators will hear from a Facebook whistle-blower who's believed to have leaked the research.

    In France today, a Paris court convicted former President Nicolas Sarkozy of campaign financing violations. He was accused of spending nearly twice the legal amount on his failed reelection bid in 2012. Sarkozy is appealing an earlier conviction for corruption. Today, he was sentenced to a year of house arrest. He appealed that as well.

    And Korean automaker Hyundai is recalling 550,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the U.S. over faulty turn signals. The company says that the signals can flash the opposite of what a driver intends. The recall includes Hyundai and mid-size Sonatas and Sedona minivans made by Kia from model years 2015 to 2017.

Listen to this Segment