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News Wrap: Panic buying adds to gas woes in the Southeast as pipeline restarts operations

In our news wrap Wednesday, panic buying of gasoline intensified across the southeastern U.S. as the colonial pipeline resumed operations. Inflation fears washed over Wall Street and the financial markets. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has fallen to an average of about 600 a day — the lowest in 10 months. Partisan fireworks sparked at a Congressional hearing on the January Capitol attack.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Inflation fears washed over Wall Street. Major indexes lost 2 percent or more, after news that consumer prices rose eight-tenths of a percent in April. That's the most in 10 years.

    The Dow Jones industrial average lost 681 points to close at 33587. The Nasdaq fell 357 points. The S&P 500 dropped 89.

    The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has fallen to an average of about 600 a day. That's the lowest in 10 months. Fatalities have dropped to single digits in more than half of the states. And in Boston, newspaper headlines celebrated after Massachusetts had no COVID deaths on Tuesday.

    This afternoon, at the White House, President Biden also hailed the good news.

  • Pres. Joe Biden:

    Safe and effective vaccines are curbing the spread of the virus. And they're saving thousands of lives. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, it's growing brighter and brighter. And we need all of you to bring it home.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    As of this evening, the total official U.S. death toll is more than 583,000.

    A major fuel pipeline on the East Coast was restarted late today six days after a cyberattack shut it down. Colonial Pipeline announced the move amid panic buying of gasoline across the Southeastern U.S. Today, drivers in a number of states waiting in long lines for gas, but hundreds of service stations ran out of fuel to sell.

  • Dan Anderson:

    I'm not even panic buying. I have just been getting a little low for the last couple of days. And I knew I should have filled up a week ago. I was kind of overdue anyway. And then all of this starts going on, and it's like the toilet paper fiasco all over again.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Washington Post and others had reported that Colonial Pipeline refused to pay a ransom to reopen the line.

    The Interstate 40 Bridge over the Mississippi River was closed today and official said repairs could take months. On Tuesday inspectors found a crack in a main support beam of the bridge linking Arkansas and Tennessee. The closure forced thousands of cars and trucks to detour today and also shut down shipping on that part of the river.

    Border Patrol agents encountered fewer migrant children along the Southern border in April. The number traveling without adults eased to just over 17,000. That is still well above the old record. Overall, migrant crossings, including adults, rose 3 percent. We will hear more after the news summary.

    Partisan fireworks sparked today at a U.S. congressional hearing on the Capitol assault last January. Republican lawmakers played down the violence that day by Trump supporters.

    Democrats tore into Christopher Miller, the former acting secretary of defense, for waiting too long to send in troops.

  • Rep. Ro Khanna:

    Will you apologize to the American public for what happened on your watch? Will you apologize to the troops for what happened on your watch?

  • Christopher Miller:

    The Department of Defense and our members of the armed forces performed magnificently on January 6 and following to secure the Capitol.

  • Rep. Ro Khanna:

    Yes. No one — Secretary, no one is questioning what they did. I'm questioning…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen also testified, and said that he was proud of the Justice Department's response.

    Senior members of the Biden administration pledged action today on domestic extremism and white supremacy. At a Senate hearing, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, said the storming of the Capitol sent a message.

  • Merrick Garland:

    There was an attempt to interfere with the fundamental passing — element of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power. And if there has to be a hierarchy of things that we prioritize, this would be the one we prioritize.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Attorney General Garland also said that the Justice Department has begun a review to try to remove extremists within the ranks of federal law enforcement.

    The former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd could be facing an even longer prison term. A judge has now ruled that Derek Chauvin abused his authority and acted with cruelty. The finding allows the judge to exceed the specified limit of 15 years in prison when he sentences Chauvin next month.

    The federal budget deficit is running a record $1.9 trillion so far this fiscal year. The Treasury Department said today that that's up 30 percent from a year ago. It's due largely to pandemic relief packages passed by the Congress.

    And the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a new class of inductees. The lineup elected today includes Jay-Z, the Foo Fighters, and The Go-Go's, plus Carole King, Tina Turner, and Todd Rundgren. They will be inducted at the Hall of Fame in Cleveland on October 30.

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