In our news wrap Thursday, Russia's President Vladimir Putin was back in Moscow offering new praise for his Geneva summit with President Joe Biden. A compromise proposal by Senator Joe Manchin to rewrite federal elections law picked up support and opposition today. Police in Portland, Oregon, have quit a crowd control unit following months of social justice protests that often turned violent.
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In the day's other news: The Supreme Court sided unanimously with a Catholic agency that refused to place children with same-sex foster parents in Philadelphia. The court found the group was within its religious rights, and that the city was wrong to refuse to do business with it. The limited decision did not address larger questions of religious freedom.
On the pandemic, U.S. public health leaders warned today of a growing threat from the more contagious Delta variant that originated in India. They appealed again for Americans to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Britain topped 10,000 new cases over 24 hours. That's for the first time in nearly four months. Officials blamed the Delta variant.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin was back in Moscow today, offering new praise for his Geneva summit with President Biden. Putin emphasized agreements to work together on cybersecurity and arms control.
And in a call with graduate students, the Russian leader complimented Mr. Biden dismissing what he said were depictions of the president as frail.
Vladimir Putin, Russian President (through translator):
President Biden's image portrayed in the Russian and even in American press has nothing to do with reality. He's professional. And you need to be very careful working with him in order not to miss anything. He doesn't miss anything himself.
For his part, President Biden took time today at a White House ceremony to sign a bill that makes June 19, known as Juneteenth, a federal holiday. It commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.
We will have more on this moment later in the program.
A compromise proposal to rewrite federal elections law by Senator Joe Manchin picked up support and opposition today. The West Virginia Democrat wants to require voter I.D. and ban partisan line-drawing of election districts, among other things. Today, Stacey Abrams, who is a leading voting rights advocate, endorsed his plan.
And the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, urged action in order to stop voting curbs in Republican-run states.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY):
This is not about voter fraud. It's about suppressing the vote, particularly of Democratic-leaning voters. It's despicable. It's anti-democratic. It's what they do in dictatorships.
Republican leaders rejected the compromise. Wyoming's John Barrasso said it amounts to a federal takeover of state elections and opens the door to fraud.
Sen John Barrasso (R-WY):
It is radical. It's extreme. It is dangerous. It is scary. We need to make it easier for people to vote, harder for people to cheat. The Democrats, in their bill, are making it much easier for people to cheat.
Senate Democrats now plan a key test vote next week.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to repeal a 2002 measure that authorized military force against Iraq. The law, a so-called AUMF, was used as recently as 2020 to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad. A bipartisan House majority approved repeal, after a debate on undoing the AUMF.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA):
Repeal can prevent our country from entering another protracted engagement under this outdated authority. We can't afford to leave this in place indefinitely.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX):
We need to replace this with an updated AUMF that reflects the threats in the region, the current threats, which is Iran.
The issue now goes to the Senate. President Biden has voiced support for repeal and for replacement with a more narrowly focused authorization.
In Hong Kong, officials defended a police raid today on a pro-democracy newspaper in Beijing's campaign against dissent in the territory. Police said that Apple Daily's reporting was part of a conspiracy to trigger sanctions against China. They also arrested of the paper's five editors and executives of the paper.
China hit another milestone in space today, sending the first crew to its new space station. The three astronauts blasted off from a launch site on the edge of the Gobi Desert. They will spend three months in orbit.
Back in this country, police in Portland, Oregon, have quit a crowd control unit, following months of social justice protests that often turned violent. Roughly 50 officers resigned en masse last night, after one officer was charged with assault for striking a protester. The police use of force has prompted multiple lawsuits.
New claims for jobless benefits rose last week to 412,000. They had been falling since April. Wall Street had its ups and downs as well, today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 210 points to close at 33823. The Nasdaq rose 121 points. The S&P 500 fell two points.
And Zambia's founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, has died. He helped to end British rule IN Zambia and championed armed campaigns for independence in neighboring states. After years of authoritarian rule, he peacefully stepped down when he lost free elections in 1991. Kenneth Kaunda was 97 years old.