In our news wrap Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case of 10 California teachers who say having to pay union dues when they do not belong to the union violated their First Amendment rights. Also, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally launched his 2016 presidential campaign.
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The nation of Greece ran out of bailout money today and defaulted on a major debt repayment. The Athens government submitted a last-minute proposal to keep the bailout alive, but it made little headway. Despite the uncertainty, U.S. markets avoided new losses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained just over 20 points to close back above 17600. The Nasdaq rose 28 points, and the S&P 500 added five. We will have an update from Greece later in the program.
The U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide whether government employee unions may force non-members to pay fees. The court today accepted the case of 10 California teachers. They say having to pay union dues, when they’re not in the union, violates their First Amendment rights. Public employees in half the states contribute to so-called fair share fees to support collective bargaining.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opened his Republican presidential bid today, declaring he’s — quote — “out to change the world.” Christie formally launched his campaign in Livingston, New Jersey, where he grew up. He said the country is tired of hand-wringing in the White House.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, Republican Presidential Candidate:
It’s led us to weak leadership around the world, where our friends can no longer trust us and our adversaries no longer fear us. This weakness and indecisiveness in the Oval Office has sent a wave of anxiety through our country, but I’m here today to tell you that anxiety can be swept away by strong leadership and decisiveness to lead America again.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Christie has twice been elected governor in heavily Democratic New Jersey, but he was hurt by the Bridgegate scandal. Three former aides were accused of deliberately creating traffic jams to do political harm to a Democratic mayor.
Another Republican hopeful, Jeb Bush, released his tax returns today going back to 1981. They show that he’s made $29 million since 2007, when he finished two terms as governor of Florida. It was largely from consulting and speaking. Over the last 30-plus years, Bush paid an average tax rate of 36 percent.
In Indonesia, more than 70 people died today when an air force transport plane crashed in a residential area. The C-130 aircraft went down in Medan, the country’s third largest city, just after takeoff. The plane slammed into two houses and a hotel, leaving rescue crews to comb the wreckage for survivors. More than 100, mostly troops and their families, were believed to be on board.
There’s word that Islamic State militants in Syria have beheaded women for the first time. Syrian activists report two women were executed in the past week in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. They were accused of practicing sorcery. In the last year, the Islamic State has beheaded dozens of men in Syria for violating its extreme interpretation of Islamic law.
Brazil announced a new effort today to stop deforestation, and replant an area the size of Pennsylvania. President Dilma Rousseff met with President Obama in the Oval Office, and later, she laid out her plan.
PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF, Brazil (through interpreter):
In Brazil, we have the commitment to come to a zero deforestation or a zero illegal deforestation rate between now and 2030. And we also wish to turn the page and engage in a clear-cut reforestation-oriented policy.
The majority of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions come from destruction in the Amazon rain forest. Many environmentalists want that destruction stopped entirely.
And the U.S. and Cuba are set to open embassies in Washington and Havana. It is the latest step in reestablishing diplomatic ties. The announcement is set for tomorrow.