News Wrap: Pfizer halts sale of drugs used in lethal injection executions

In our news wrap Friday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer -- the last remaining federally approved supplier of lethal injection drugs -- announced it will no longer allow its products to be used for executions. Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped up his criticism of NATO missile defense sites in Poland, arguing that the system is aimed at Russia and not Iran as proponents claim.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.

    On the "NewsHour" tonight: The White House kicks up an already hot issue by directing all public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.

  • Then:

    how one man's mission to reform the nation's justice system began by confronting Alabama's overcrowded prisons.

  • BRYAN STEVENSON, Founder, Equal Justice Initiative:

    If you said to any warden in the state of Alabama, can you identify 50, 100, 200 people in your prison who you think could go home tomorrow, wouldn't be a problem, most of them could do it in a heartbeat.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And it's Friday. Mark Shields and Michael Gerson talk about the possibility of a united Republican Party and analyze a full week of news.

    All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."

    (BREAK)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that it will no longer allow its drugs to be used in lethal injections. With that decision today, all federally approved drug suppliers have now blocked sales of their products to prison systems. A number of states using the death penalty have begun buying the drugs covertly.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped up his criticism of NATO missile defense sites in Poland. Putin scoffed at U.S. arguments that the system is aimed at Iranian missiles and not at Russia. He told Russian military officials — quote — "We will have to think about how we can fend off the threats.'

    Meanwhile, Polish and American officials symbolically broke ground for a new missile interceptor site. Another site went operational yesterday.

    In Iraq, Islamic State militants attacked for a third straight day. This time, the target was the Shiite town of Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad. Two suicide bombers and gunmen stormed a busy coffee shop there, killing at least 13 people. Four more were killed in a second attack later. ISIS bombings earlier this week killed nearly 100 civilians and soldiers.

    The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is appealing for patience as travelers face growing security delays at airports. Lines have gotten longer in the face of tighter security procedures and fewer transportation security officers, or TSOs.

    At Washington's Reagan National Airport today, the secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, promised corrective action.

    JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security: Our job is to keep the American public safe. We're dealing this spring and summer with increased travel volume, which obviously puts an added burden on our TSOs and increased demand on the system. But we're not going to compromise aviation security in the face of this.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Congress agreed this week to inject more money into the TSA to hire more officers and take other steps. In the meantime, officials are warning passengers to arrive at least two hours ahead of their flights.

    A cyber-heist that stole $81 million from a Bangladesh bank now appears to be part of a wider campaign. The global financial network SWIFT reported today the same hackers also hit an unnamed Vietnamese bank. And Europe's largest weapons company, BAE Systems, said the same malware is linked to the cyber-attack on Sony's Hollywood studio in 2014.

    Wall Street's week ended with a sell-off, led by retail and bank stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 185 points to close at 17535. The Nasdaq fell 19 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 17. For the entire week, the Dow was down 1 percent. The Nasdaq and the S&P were off about half-a-percent.

    General Lori J. Robinson made history today, taking over NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. A ceremony in Colorado Springs made her the first woman to head a U.S. combat command. She's one of only two female four-star generals in the Air Force. She is said to have a keen interest in space, cyber-security and drones.

    And the woman believed to be the world's oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, has died at the age of 116. She passed away Thursday at a seniors home in Brooklyn, New York. Jones was born in Alabama in 1899, and moved north as a young woman. She never drank or smoked, but said she did eat bacon every day. Susannah Mushatt Jones was the last living American from the 19th century.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": reaction to the Obama administration's sweeping directive on public school bathrooms; a key Hezbollah leader killed in Syria; why some see Alabama's overcrowded prisons as a sign of racial injustice; and much more.

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