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In our news wrap Thursday, officials say the San Jose, California railyard gunman appeared to target specific victims at his job and had formerly spoken of hating his workplace. Senate Republicans presented a $928 billion counter-offer on rebuilding infrastructure — just over half of President Biden's last offer. The UN Human Rights Council voted to investigate Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
In the day's other news: Senate Republicans put forward a counteroffer on rebuilding infrastructure. It totals $928 billion, just over half of President Biden's latest offer. Republican negotiators, led by West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, said that it's a serious attempt at finding common ground.
Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W. Va.:
There's a real hunger for bipartisanship in the United States Senate. There's a real ability to achieve that, and we're hoping that this moves the ball forward.
The president said he is talking with Capito, but he suggested he won't wait much longer before trying to pass his plan with Democrats alone.
A key sticking point is how to pay for it. Republicans oppose raising corporate taxes. They want to tap unused pandemic relief money, which Democrats oppose.
In San Jose, California, the sheriff says that a gunman appeared to target specific victims yesterday at a rail yard where he worked. He shot nine people to death, and then himself. Investigators looked for more evidence at the rail yard and the man's home today. They say that he fired 39 rounds from semiautomatic handguns. It is also reported that he was detained by customs officers in 2016 and talked about hating his workplace.
China fired back today at President Biden's call for U.S. intelligence agencies to find the origins of COVID-19. That includes whether it escaped from a Chinese research lab. Beijing charged that the U.S. has no interest in facts or truth.
Meanwhile, Facebook announced that it will stop removing claims that COVID is manmade.
We will return to this story after the news summary.
The U.N. Human Rights Council has voted to investigate Israel's treatment of the Palestinians the wake of the Israeli-Hamas war. The U.N.'s human rights chief said today that Israeli airstrikes on Gaza may have been war crimes.
The Israeli ambassador insisted that Hamas bears the blame. They addressed a virtual session.
Airstrikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure.
Meirav Eilon Shahar:
The resolution does not mention Hamas, does not mention the more than 4,400 rockets that were launched at Israeli civilians indiscriminately.
The United States criticized the Council's vote as — quote — "a distraction that adds nothing to diplomatic efforts."
Syria's President Bashar Assad has been reelected in a vote that Western nations branded a sham. Government officials say that he won 95 percent of the vote on Wednesday. Syria has been ravaged by a 10-year war pitting Assad's dictatorship against rebels.
Lawmakers in Hong Kong approved sweeping election changes today to give mainland China more control. They're adding more pro-Beijing legislators and cutting the number elected by the public. Candidates will also be checked for loyalty to Beijing.
Back in this country, the U.S. Senate confirmed Christine Wormuth as the first woman to become Army secretary. The vote was unanimous. Wormuth takes over amid problems of sexual assault and racial tensions in the ranks.
New claims for unemployment benefits dropped again in the last week to 406,000.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 141 points to close at 34464. The Nasdaq fell one point. The S&P 500 added nearly five.
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