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News Wrap: Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary

In our news wrap Tuesday, President Biden’s nominee for transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg easily won Senate confirmation, the White House plans to ship a million doses of coronavirus vaccines nationwide, Russia's opposition leader is sentenced to prison, two FBI agents were killed in Florida, and the World War II veteran whose charity walks raised millions in pandemic relief died in Britain.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Pete Buttigieg easily won Senate confirmation to be the secretary of transportation. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and presidential candidate is the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the Senate for a Cabinet post.

    Meanwhile, the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee approved Denis McDonough's nomination for VA secretary and sent it to the full Senate.

    The White House announced plans today to ship one million doses of coronavirus vaccines to some 6,500 pharmacies nationwide.

    COVID coordinator Jeff Zients said shipments begin next week.

  • Jeff Zients:

    This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinated in their communities, and it's an important component to delivering vaccines equitably.

    Sites are selected based on their ability to reach some of the population's most at-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including socially vulnerable communities.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, Russian scientists reported that Russia's Sputnik vaccine is 91 percent effective.

    COVID vaccination sites across the Northeastern U.S. are reopening after a major winter storm passed. The system pushed deeper into New England today. It had dumped 17 inches of snow in New York and up to 30 in New Jersey. Plow drivers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere kept busy clearing parking lots and streets today, and people struggled to dig out cars.

    In Russia today, a court ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny back to prison for more than 2.5 years. After an argumentative hearing, he gestured a heart to his wife. The court found that he violated probation on an embezzlement charge that he says was fabricated.

    The decision was widely condemned, including by the new Biden administration.

  • Ned Price:

    What has happened with Mr. Navalny specifically, what has happened with the mass detentions of those who have bravely taken to the streets in the aftermath of Mr. Navalny's arrest, and, of course, all of that, we will account for in determining an appropriate policy course.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will take a closer look at the story after the news summary.

    The U.S. State Department now says what happened in Myanmar on Sunday was indeed a military coup. That finding today triggers a review of U.S. aid to the former Burma. Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's ousted civilian leader, remains under detention.

    Back in this country, two FBI agents were killed and three wounded in South Florida, today, in one of the deadliest days in FBI history. They were trying to serve a warrant involving violence against children. The suspected gunman died after a standoff in a Fort Lauderdale suburb. A SWAT team stormed the apartment building where he was barricaded.

    In business news, Amazon announced that Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO later this year. He will become executive chairman instead. Bezos has been CEO since the founding of the company nearly 30 years ago. Now he is one of the world's richest people.

    Big tech and banks pushed Wall Street higher today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 475 points to close at 30687. The Nasdaq rose 209 points, and the S&P 500 added 52.

    And two passings of note.

    Britain's Captain Tom Moore has died after contracting COVID-19. The World War II veteran became an online sensation early in the pandemic doing laps in his backyard to raise $40 million for health care workers. Captain Tom Moore was 100 years old.

    There is also word that award-winning actor Hal Holbrook died last month, in Beverly Hills, California. He won five Emmys and a Tony and gained movie fame as Deep Throat in the 1976 Watergate thriller "All the President's Men."

    But he may be best known as Mark Twain in a one-man show that spanned six decades.

  • Hal Holbrook:

    When the urge to exercise comes over me, I lie down until it passes away.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Hal Holbrook:

    Now, as for drinking, I have very strict rules about that: When others drink, I like to help.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Hal Holbrook was 95 years old.

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