In our news wrap Wednesday, Republican leaders stepped up calls to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as the third highest ranking Republican in the House after she backed President Trump's second impeachment. A federal judge in Washington threw out a national moratorium on evicting renters during the pandemic. Police in San Francisco arrested a suspect in the latest of a series of attacks on Asian Americans.
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The United States has declared support for waiving patent rights to COVID-19 vaccines in order to speed production in hard-hit countries. The Biden administration made the announcement late today, as the World Trade organization opened talks on the issue.
We will get details right after the news summary.
Calls are growing in India for emergency measures against COVID-19. That follows a record 3,780 deaths in just the last 24 hours. Long lines formed outside vaccination centers today, and the Indian Supreme Court ordered officials to show a plan for getting oxygen tanks to hospitals in New Delhi.
Back in this country, the Centers for Disease Control is projecting that U.S. COVID infections and deaths will decline dramatically within two months. But officials also warned today that virus variants could reverse the progress, if vaccinations slow and if people abandon safety measures.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky:
We are not out of the woods yet, but could be very close. All of us are — getting fully vaccinated and continuing our prevention efforts can help us turn the corner on the pandemic as early as July and set us forward on a path toward a more normal lifestyle.
Also today, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., threw out a national moratorium on evicting renters during the pandemic. He ruled that the CDC overreached in imposing the measure last September. It was to have run through June. The U.S. Justice Department immediately appealed the ruling.
Facebook's Oversight Board has upheld the suspension of former President Trump's account. But the panel also said today that making the ban indefinite was unreasonable. It gave Facebook six months to reconsider. The company says that it suspended Mr. Trump for inciting the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
We will delve into this later in the program.
Republican leaders stepped up calls today to oust Liz Cheney as the number three Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Wyoming congresswoman backed impeaching then President Trump over the Capitol assault, and she denounced him this week for calling his election loss — quote — "the big lie."
As the GOP infighting intensified, President Biden weighed in at a White House event this afternoon.
Pres. Joe Biden:
It seems as though the Republican Party is trying to identify what it stands for.
And they're in the midst of a significant sort of a mini-revolution. I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.
Congresswoman Cheney wrote today in The Washington Post that Republicans must decide — quote — "whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution."
In his own statement, Mr. Trump blasted Cheney and endorsed Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York to replace her in the party's House hierarchy.
Police in San Francisco have arrested a suspect in the latest of a series of attacks on Asian Americans. Two women, 65 and 85 years old, suffered stab wounds at a bus stop, Tuesday evening. The alleged attacker was arrested several hours later.
The U.S. birth rate fell 4 percent last year. That's the most in nearly 50 years and due in part to the pandemic. CDC numbers show that pregnancy declines in nearly all races, ethnicities and age groups. The overall birth rate is now the lowest in more than a century.
And, on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 97 points to close at 34230. The Nasdaq fell 51 points. The S&P 500 added three.