News Wrap: ‘Unite the Right’ trial jury begins deliberations in Virginia

In our news wrap Friday, jury deliberations began in Virginia in the civil trial of white nationalists at the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to repeal controversial farm laws, after thousands of farmers protested against them over the past year. The Biden administration voiced concerns about leadership at the U.S. Postal Service.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Lawmakers in the House of Representatives narrowly passed President Biden's massive Build Back Better legislation this morning, after Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy stalled the vote for more than eight hours overnight.

    The sweeping social safety net and climate bill now goes to the Senate, where it will face further scrutiny.

    We will have much more on this after the news summary.

    All adults in the U.S. are now eligible to receive a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 booster shot. The CDC approved their use hours after the FDA cleared the added dose.

    We will take a closer look at the boosters also later in the program.

    Meanwhile, overseas, Austria's leaders announced plans for a nationwide lockdown to help slow a surge in COVID infections. It will go into effect on Monday. The country will also mandate COVID vaccinations next year.

  • Alexander Schallenberg, Austrian Chancellor (through translator):

    We have decided to make vaccinations compulsory across the country. This will begin February 1.

    Substantially increasing vaccination rates is our only way out of this vicious circle of virus waves and lockdown discussions once and for all. We don't want a fifth wave. We don't want a sixth and seventh wave.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    This will be the continent's first nationwide vaccination mandate. Today's decision comes as parts of Europe are seeing record numbers of daily infections.

    Jury deliberations began today in Virginia in the civil trial of white nationalists at the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville. They face charges of conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence after marching through the streets carrying torches and yelling racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. At least one counterprotester died and dozens more were injured.

    In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to repeal controversial farm laws, after thousands of farmers protested against them over the past year. They had argued the legislation would hurt their incomes. The repeal process will begin in December, when India's Parliament reconvenes.

    Farmers took to the streets to celebrate the surprise announcement. Many were cautiously optimistic.

  • Shamsher Singh Bal, Farmer (through translator):

    We welcome Prime Minister Modi's announcement. But the farmers will not leave this protest site until the laws are repealed in the Parliament.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Farmers make up one of India's most influential voting blocs. The reversal comes as Modi's party faces state elections early next year.

    The U.N. is now calling on China to provide proof of tennis star Peng Shuai's whereabouts. She has been missing ever since making sexual assault allegations against a former top Chinese official earlier this month. Beijing's Foreign Ministry said today that they were — quote — "not aware" of her disappearance.

    The Biden administration voiced concerns today about Louis DeJoy's leadership at the U.S. Postal Service. The postmaster general is a Trump era appointee. He came under fire in 2020 for making changes that slowed mail delivery times as many voters were mailing in their presidential election ballots.

    DeJoy has also been criticized for investing in companies that have done business with the Postal Service.

  • Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary:

    We're, of course, deeply troubled, continue to be deeply troubled, as many Americans are, by the early reporting on Postmaster General DeJoy's potential financial conflicts of interest and take serious issues with the job he's doing running the Postal Service.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

    DeJoy can only be removed by the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. Today, President Biden announced plans to replace two of DeJoy's backers on the board with two new members.

    President Biden had his annual physical examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center today, on the eve of his 79th birthday. His physician declared him healthy and — quote — "fit for duty." While under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy, his authority was transferred to Vice President Kamala Harris, making her the first woman in the U.S. to hold presidential powers.

    Stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 269 points to close at 35602. The Nasdaq rose 64 points to notch a record close. And the S&P 500 slipped six.

    And two lucky turkeys are off the menu this Thanksgiving, as part of a presidential tradition. The gobblers named Peanut Butter and Jelly were officially pardoned by President Biden at the White House today. They will live out their days on a farm at Purdue University in Indiana. Lucky Purdue and lucky turkeys.

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