In our news wrap Thursday, at least 32 people were killed in a pair of suicide bombings in central Baghdad, new Labor Department numbers continue to highlight the pandemic’s economic toll, President Biden proposes a five-year extension of a longstanding nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and Twitter temporarily locked the account of China’s embassy in Washington over repression of Muslim Uighurs.
Correction: The image accompanying our “Nuclear Treaty” segment mistakenly showed the aftermath of volcanic eruption, not a nuclear explosion. We regret the error.
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In the day's other news, another 900,000 Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week. It was the latest evidence of economic wreckage from the pandemic. The number was down slightly from the previous week, but it remained historically high.
In Iraq, at least 32 people were killed today by suicide bombings in Central Baghdad. Two blasts tore through a busy market, injuring more than 100 people. It was the first attack on the Iraqi capital's main commercial district in three years. Hours later, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Twitter has temporarily locked the account of China's embassy in Washington over the repression of Muslim Uyghurs. The embassy had defended forced birth control for Uyghur women, claiming that they are no longer — quote — "baby-making machines." Twitter said that that tweet amounted to dehumanizing the group.
Beijing responded today by asking for clarification.
Hua Chunying (through translator):
We are confused about the restrictive measures taken by Twitter against the account of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. We hope that Twitter will uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality, avoid double standards on the issue, and to strengthen the screening of what is true disinformation.
In one of its last acts this week, the Trump administration accused China of committing genocide against the Uyghurs.
President Biden is proposing a five-year extension of a longstanding nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Otherwise, the New START treaty is set to expire February 5. It's the last remaining agreement between the two countries that limits nuclear arsenals.
The president has also asked FBI director, Christopher Wray, to stay on. The White House made that official today, and said that Wray has agreed. He was heavily criticized by President Trump for refusing to back false claims of voter fraud.
And on Capitol Hill — or, rather, on Wall Street today, stocks mostly drifted. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 12 points to close at 31176. The Nasdaq rose 73 points, and the S&P 500 added one.