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In our news wrap Wednesday, the Labor Department's April consumer price report shows a slight drop in inflation increases amid 40-year highs, Hong Kong police arrested a Catholic cardinal for endangering China's national security, the Great Barrier Reef suffered its fourth mass-bleaching event in seven years and candidates backed by former President Trump had mixed results in Tuesday's primaries.
The sharp rise in inflation in this country may have hit a peak, but it remains near 40-year highs. That is the upshot of today's consumer price report for April by the U.S. Labor Department.
It showed prices rose 8.3 percent from a year earlier, a slight decline from the reading in March. And the monthly increase from March to April was three-tenths-of-a-percent. That's the smallest in eight months. But not counting volatile prices for food and fuel, the core rate of inflation jumped twice as much as it did in March.
On Wall Street, the inflation numbers fueled fears of aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 326 points, 1 percent, to close at 31834. The Nasdaq fell 370 three points. That's 3 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 66, or 1.6 percent.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked efforts today to enshrine abortion rights into federal law. Democrats fell well short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster on codifying abortion access. They are expecting the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade this summer.
Also today, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered U.S. Marshals to provide additional security for the justices.
We will look at the Senate vote after the news summary.
On the pandemic:
China insisted today that it will maintain its zero-tolerance policy. It came a day after the head of the World Health Organization warned that extreme lockdowns, as in Shanghai, are not sustainable.
In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson dismissed the criticism.
Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman (through translator):
We hope that relevant people can view China's policy of pandemic prevention and control objectively and rationally, get more knowledge about the facts, and refrain from making irresponsible remarks.
Shanghai has been locked down for six weeks. Today, authorities reported that half of the city has now achieved zero COVID status. But they said strict measures will remain in place.
In Ukraine, government forces claimed new gains in the northeast. They said that a counteroffensive around Kharkiv has pushed to within a few kilometers of the Russian border. Meanwhile, Russian missiles again struck Odessa on the Black Sea, trying to stop the flow of Western weapons.
We will return to Ukraine later in the program.
Police in Hong Kong have arrested Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen for allegedly endangering China's national security. Zen is a retired archbishop and longtime critic of China's communist rulers. He had helped to run a legal aid fund for pro-democracy protesters. The Vatican said that it is closely monitoring the situation.
In Australia, the Great Barrier Reef has suffered its fourth mass bleaching event in seven years. A warming climate causes a loss of color. Researchers say more than 90 percent of the coral that was surveyed this year was bleached, but they expect most of it to recover.
Back in this country, published reports say that legal settlements worth nearly a billion dollars have been reached in last June's condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida. Nearly 100 people were killed. An attorney for their relatives, plus survivors, says that they have finalized agreements with insurers and with others.
And candidates endorsed by former President Trump had mixed results in Tuesday's primaries. In Nebraska, Jim Pillen won a crowded Republican contest for governor. Rivals included Charles Herbster, who had Mr. Trump's backing.
But, in West Virginia, Trump-endorsed Congressman Alex Mooney defeated fellow GOP Congressman David McKinley, who supported the January 6 investigation. Redistricting had forced the two men into the same district.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": tensions rise as a journalist is killed during an Israeli raid of a town in the occupied West Bank; a new report details a troubling history of forcing indigenous children to attend boarding school; overdose deaths in the U.S. hit record levels; plus much more.
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