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In our news wrap Friday, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson picked up the crucial support of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was released from a Washington hospital, Minneapolis teachers reached a tentative deal to end a strike, rebel forces in Tigray agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire, and EU negotiators back landmark restrictions for Big Tech.
In the day's other news: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson has picked up crucial support. West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said that he will vote to confirm Jackson. He called her supremely qualified.
Manchin has opposed President Biden on several other major issues. His vote for Jackson could be vital, if all 50 Senate Republicans oppose her.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was released from a Washington hospital today after a week-long stay. The court had said that Thomas was treated for flu-like symptoms, but did not have COVID. His release came amid reports that his wife, Virginia Thomas, repeatedly texted former President Trump's chief of staff in an effort to overturn the 2020 election.
We will focus on that after the news summary.
Also today, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower court order that prevented the U.S. Navy from restricting deployments of special operations forces who refuse to get COVID-19 vaccinations; 35 sailors, mostly Navy SEALs, sued after refusing to comply with the mandate on religious grounds. Now the Navy may consider vaccination status when making assignments.
Teachers in Minneapolis have reached a tentative deal to end a strike that began on March 8. About 29,000 students have been out of school since then. Superintendent Ed Graff said that he is looking forward to getting everyone back to class on Monday.
Ed Graff, Superintendent, Minneapolis Public Schools:
I know this has been a huge challenge for our students, huge challenge for our families, for staff as well. You go into this profession because you care about kids and you want to see them reach their full potential and be a part of the successes.
The teachers had demanded better pay, protections for minority educators and smaller class sizes, among other things. They are set to vote on ratifying the new agreement this weekend.
The Utah state legislature voted today to override their governor's veto of a ban on transgender athletes from taking part in girls' sports. The state's ban will now take effect July 1. Utah joins 11 other states that have enacted similar laws.
In Ethiopia, rebel forces in Tigray agreed today to a humanitarian cease-fire. The central government offered a truce with the renegade province on Thursday, saying that it would allow aid to flow into Tigray. The conflict broke out in November 2020 and has left thousands of people dead and forced millions from their homes.
In Antarctica, scientists are raising alarms after an ice shelf the size of New York City collapsed in the eastern part of the continent last week. This satellite image shows the ice shelf in February. And here it is after last week's collapse, the first of its kind ever recorded in the region. Scientists said that, prior to now, climate change hadn't had much impact on that area.
Meantime, climate activists staged new protests worldwide, with many also calling for peace in Ukraine. There were demonstrations across Europe. Thousands marched through the streets of Rome, and mostly teenagers chanted their way across Paris. In Berlin, crowds waved Ukraine's colors, with some linking climate to the conflict.
Luisa Neubauer, Climate Activist (through translator):
We are striking today to show our great solidarity with Ukraine, but we also see now that we are in a war that is being financed by fossil fuels.
There is no such thing as an isolated crisis. If we want to separate ourselves from the autocrats and live everywhere in peace and freedom and safety, then we need to move away from fossil fuel.
Activists also marched in Indonesia, Australia, and in the U.S.
European Union negotiators have agreed on landmark restrictions for big tech companies, including threats of huge fines and breakups. The rules aim to bar Google, Amazon, Meta and others from dominating digital markets. They also include new restrictions on using personal data. The agreement still needs approval from the European Council and Parliament.
Back in this country, Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is under pressure to resign after a criminal conviction. Leaders of both parties in the U.S. House of Representatives urged the nine-term Republican to step down today. Fortenberry was found guilty Thursday of lying about accepting campaign funds from a foreign donor.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 153 points to close at 34861. The Nasdaq fell 22 points. The S&P 500 added 23.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart weigh in on the Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings; a Ukrainian-American realigns her business to raise money for emergency aid; plus much more.
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