News Wrap: U.S. shoots down Chinese balloon over the Atlantic

In our news wrap Saturday, the U.S. Air Force downed a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina, dangerously cold temperatures descended on the northeastern part of the country, the mayor of Memphis asked the DOJ to evaluate the city’s police department, the DNC approved a new 2024 presidential primary lineup, and scientists discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter.

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  • John Yang:

    Good evening. I'm John Yang. Late this afternoon, a U.S. Air Force fighter jet shot down that Chinese surveillance balloon which had made its way across the country from Montana to the Carolinas. It plunged about 60,000 feet into U.S. waters off South Carolina. Operations have begun to try to retrieve as much as possible of the apparatus the balloon carried, which is roughly the size of three buses. Speaking to reporters this afternoon, President Biden said he ordered the shoot down on Wednesday.

    Joe Biden, (D) U.S. President: I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down, on Wednesday, as soon as possible. They decided that the best time to do that was as it got over water, outside — within our — within the 12-mile limit. They successfully took it down.

  • John Yang:

    Balloon is the latest flashpoint between the United States and China. Today, Pentagon officials said they were able to collect intelligence on the balloon as it flew over the country.

    Across the northeast United States tonight, it is dangerously cold. On Mount Washington in northern New Hampshire, the wind chill overnight reached 108 degrees below zero. That's the coldest on record in the United States. It is so cold that some New England ski areas closed or limited operations. Tens of millions of people remain under wind chill alerts. Warmer temperatures are expected tomorrow.

    Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has asked the Justice Department to evaluate the city's police department, its special units, and its use of force policies. Memphis police fired a 6th officer as they investigate the beating death of Tyre Nichols. The officer, who is white, was involved in the initial traffic stop. The department said he violated several policies, including the use of his taser.

    Officials say multiple officers remain under investigation and state officials suspended the licenses of two fire department EMTs for failing to provide Nichols with required care.

    The Democratic National Committee has voted topple New Hampshire from its traditional place as the nation's first presidential primary in an effort to involve more voters of color in early contests. The new 2024 lineup approved today put South Carolina as the first contest displacing Iowa caucuses. Georgia and Michigan will now move ahead of Super Tuesday. Some of this will require Republican cooperation in both New Hampshire and Georgia, the primary dates are controlled by offices that are now held by Republicans.

    And a galactic distinct for our solar system's largest planet, Jupiter, astronomers recently discovered twelve new moons in the gas giant's orbit, giving it a total of 92. That surpasses Saturn for the most moons in our solar system.

    Still to come on "PBS News Weekend," can technological advances be a threat to democracy? And how the trailblazing lawyer Eunice Carter bought the New York mob, and won?

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