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In our news wrap Friday, the U.S. Labor Department reported a net gain of 850,000 jobs in June — the most in 10 months. The World Health Organization warned the delta variant of the coronavirus has opened a dangerous new phase in the global pandemic. Hurricane Elsa hit Barbados in the eastern Caribbean with winds of 85 miles an hour and heavy rain, and could reach south Florida by early next week.
The confirmed death toll has risen to 22 in the collapse of that condominium tower in Surfside, Florida. The number of missing dropped from 145 to 126, as some people turned up safe, and officials removed duplicate names.
And they also announced that they are going to demolish the remaining part of the tower once engineers have signed off. Crews kept working today after recovering more victims overnight.
The mayor said one was the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter, a discovery that hit all of them hard.
Last night was uniquely different. It was truly different, and more difficult for our first responders.
These men and women are paying an enormous human toll each and every day, and I ask that all of you, please, keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers.
As the work continued, officials also kept an eye on Elsa, the first Atlantic hurricane of 2021. The storm hit Barbados today in the Eastern Caribbean with winds of 85 miles an hour and heavy rain. It could reach South Florida by early next week.
The rebound in the U.S. economy is showing even more strength. The Labor Department reports a net gain of 850,000 jobs in June, the most in 10 months. Average hourly wages rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier, as businesses offered incentives to workers. The unemployment rate, however, ticked up slightly to 5.9 percent, as more people enter the labor force.
The World Health Organization warned today that the Delta variant of COVID-19 has opened a dangerous new phase in the global pandemic. It's spreading in nearly 100 countries, and infections across Africa are doubling every three weeks. In India, where the Delta variant first appeared, the official death toll topped 400,000 today. The true total is believed to be far higher.
The Delta variant is also spreading in the U.S. as the Fourth of July weekend arrives. More than 47 million people are expected to travel for the holiday, but a third of all U.S. adults are not yet vaccinated.
At the White House today, President Biden said that means too many people are still at risk.
President Joseph Biden:
I'm not concerned there's going to be a major outbreak, in other words, that we're going to have another epidemic nationwide. But I am concerned lives will be lost.
At the same time, the president welcomed what he called a summer of freedom. He will host a White House cookout for more than 1,000 people on Sunday.
We will talk with one of the senior Biden administration officials monitoring the pandemic Dr. Vivek Murthy, a little later in the program.
The U.S. military all but completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan today, departing Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years. The withdrawal is running well ahead of President Biden's deadline of September 11. He said today it's up to the Afghan government to unify in the face of rapid Taliban advances.
In Iraq, a widespread power led to public outrage, with temperatures hitting 118 degrees. It affected millions from Baghdad south to Basra. At Friday prayers, men hid under parasols and carried signs blaming the government. Officials did not confirm reports that militants cut a major transmission line.
Back in this country, an independent review commission formally recommended that outside prosecutors, and not military commanders, handle sexual assault cases in the uniformed services. President Biden endorsed the proposal. He did not address calls in Congress for outside prosecutors to handle all major crimes in the military.
And on Wall Street today, the three major indexes all hit record closes, helped by the June jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 152 points to finish at 34786. The Nasdaq rose 117 points, and the S&P 500 added 32.
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