In our news wrap Friday, the U.S. will see a sharp drop in deliveries of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine next week amid quality control concerns at a Baltimore production plant. President Biden released an outline of his $1.5 trillion budget for 2022, and signed an executive order forming a bipartisan commission to study whether to expand the Supreme Court, limit justices' terms.
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Britain's Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband of 73 years, died today at Windsor Castle.
The duke of Edinburgh had been hospitalized nearly a month ago for heart surgery. Mourners defied COVID protocols to gather in front of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to lay flowers and offer condolences.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the duke outside Downing Street in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson:
He helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.
We remember the duke for all of this, and, above all, for his steadfast support for Her Majesty the queen.
Palace officials said that the duke will not lie in state or have a state funeral due to the pandemic. Prince Philip was 99 years old.
We will look back on his life later in the program.
The U.S. will see a sharp drop in deliveries of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine next week, amid quality control concerns at a production plant in Baltimore. States will receive just 700,000 doses. That's compared to the nearly five million they received this week.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization voiced concerns about inequity in the global distribution of vaccines.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines. On average, in high-income countries, almost one in four people has received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it's one in more than 500.
We will have more on the vaccination effort in the U.S. later in the program.
President Biden released a preliminary outline of his $1.5 trillion budget for 2022 today. It calls for $769 billion for non-defense programs. That includes a $20 billion boost for low-income schools and $8.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; $753 billion will go to national defense.
The president remained optimistic about its prospects.
Pres. Joe Biden:
I'm hoping that we will have some bipartisan support across the board. I have already spoken to some of my Republican colleagues about dealing with the infrastructure legislation we have up there, as well as other budget items.
The White House plans to release its full annual budget later in the spring.
President Biden also signed an executive order today to form a bipartisan commission to study whether to expand the Supreme Court. It will also consider whether to implement term limits for justices.
The Ethics Committee in the House of Representatives is investigating two Republican congressmen over separate allegations of sexual misconduct. Florida Representative Matt Gaetz faces accusations of sex trafficking and illicit drug use, among other things. And Representative Tom Reed of New York is accused of sexually harassing a former lobbyist. Reed already announced that he won't seek reelection.
In Northern Ireland, a new night of riots rocked the capital of Belfast over COVID restrictions and new Brexit trade rules. Another 19 police officers were injured overnight, as gangs of youths hurled stones and fireworks at them. Police, in turn, deployed water cannons.
Anti-coup demonstrations persisted throughout Myanmar today, despite the military's claim that protests against them have dwindled. Demonstrators in Dawei and Yangon held flags as they marched through the streets, but the deadly crackdown continued in Bago, where at least four people were killed.
The Kremlin said today that it fears full-scale fighting will resume in Eastern Ukraine as it builds up its military presence near the border. Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops have been clashing in the Donbass region.
Even as Russia faces growing international criticism, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said the Ukrainians were to blame.
Maria Zakharova (through translator):
The situation in Donbass continues to be difficult and is deteriorating. The problem is Ukraine's warlike attitude and illusions that the conflict can be resolved by force.
The White House estimates that Russia has more troops on the Ukrainian border than when it annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014.
A volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent has dumped heavy ash on the surrounding communities. Some 16,000 residents were under mandatory evacuation orders. Social media video showed a 20,000-foot ash column rising into the sky. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
On Wall Street today, stocks ended the week on a high note. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 297 points to close at 33800, notching another record high. The Nasdaq rose 71 points, and the S&P 500 added 31.
And hip-hop artist DMX died today in New York after suffering cardiac arrest. The Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, sold millions of records and produced such iconic songs as Ruff Ryders' Anthem." With his trademark raspy voice, he became the first musician whose first five albums hit number one on Billboard's top 200 chart.
DMX was 50 years old.