In our news wrap Thursday, the voting technology company Smartmatic USA filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News and two of former President Trump's attorneys over election fraud claims, the pandemic is still throwing large numbers of Americans out of work, Chicago fails to break impasse on reopening schools, and McKinsey & Company agrees to pay nearly $600 million for boosting opioid sales.
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In the days other news: The pandemic is still throwing large numbers of Americans out of work.
The U.S. Labor Department reported another 779,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week. It was the smallest number in two months, but still far higher than normal. All told, 17.8 million people were receiving benefits as of mid-January.
The mayor of Chicago demanded today that teachers agree to COVID safety protocols and return to classrooms. At a morning news conference, Lori Lightfoot accused the teachers union of dragging its feet on reopening schools.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot:
We waited for hours last night, hours, and still did not receive a proposal from the Chicago Teachers Union leadership. And, as of this morning we are still waiting, but to be clear, not patiently, not anymore.
Lightfoot says the schools have spent $100 million on safety measures. The union says the safest option is still online learning.
Democratic impeachment managers asked former President Trump today to testify at his Senate trial next week. They want him to go on the record, under oath, after he denied inciting last month's violent invasion of the Capitol.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump called the trial unconstitutional. They said that he will not testify.
President Biden has begun his promised shift away from the Trump foreign policy with a broadside at Moscow. He said today that the U.S. will take a forceful new approach toward Russian misdeeds. The president spoke in his first visit to the State Department since taking office.
Pres. Joe Biden:
I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions, interfering with our election, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens, are over.
Mr. Biden also announced that he's ending support for Saudi Arabia's military offensive in Yemen and halting a partial pullout of U.S. troops from Germany. And he said the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. will rise to 125,000 a year. That's up from 15,000 under Mr. Trump.
Three more of President Biden's Cabinet nominees are headed to the full Senate for their confirmation. The Foreign Relations Committee endorsed Linda Thomas-Greenfield for ambassador to the United Nations. The Banking Committee approved Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to be secretary of housing and urban development and Cecilia Rouse to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.
A second major voting systems firm, Smartmatic, is suing over claims that it helped steal the election for President Biden. The suit seeks $2.7 billion from FOX News, three of its on-air hosts, and two former Trump lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani. It alleges that they knowingly spread false information. Earlier, Dominion Voting Systems also sued Giuliani and Powell.
A consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, has agreed to pay almost $600 million for boosting U.S. opioid sales as overdoses surged. Court documents showed McKinsey worked closely with Purdue Pharma to market more OxyContin. McKinsey says that it has reached agreements with every state except Nevada.
And on Wall Street, some strong corporate earnings reports pushed the market higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 332 points to close at 31055. The Nasdaq rose 167 points, and the S&P 500 added 41.